The shi(f)t is hitting the fan: a RAVEN year in review

Here at RAVEN, we’re reflecting on what redeemed 2021, while contemplating what lessons can be gleaned from a year that contained both tragic unearthing and the planting of new seeds of growth. We want to hear from you: tell us about your 2021.

In 2021, RAVEN was able to launch two new campaigns targeting irresponsible mining practices, and holding governments to account to include Indigenous Nations in decision-making processes. Knowing the legacy of stewardship, and the depth of understanding about the land and waters that Indigenous Peoples hold, what government wouldn’t want to incorporate those perspectives and priorities? We hold the vision that the courts will see it that way as well, when they hear the strong arguments from Neskantaga and Gitxaala Nations. 

Our community’s collective outpouring of generosity lifted Beaver Lake Cree Nation all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada this autumn. Defending their Advanced Costs order is not only an important step towards the landmark oil sands challenge, but could set a precedent to support access to justice for all Nations, everywhere in what is now called Canada. 

More good news: 

Coldwater — one of the Nations in the Pull Together coalition to push back against TransMountain — successfully pushed for the rerouting of the pipeline away from their community aquifer. 

Though the Site C dam trial only begins next year,  West Moberly First Nations was successful bringing motions to compel discovery of documents; also, the recent precedent on treaty rights set by Blueberry River First Nation makes this case so much stronger. 

RAVEN stood with Salmon Nations to push for permanent removal of fish farms from the Discovery Islands, and backed Heiltsuk Nation’s groundbreaking Indigenous Environmental Assessment, which will form backbone evidence in their upcoming legal challenge. 

And, finally,  Secwepemc Nation endured a painful spotlight as they unearthed graves of 215 children at Kamloops residential school. With prayers, drumming, community gatherings and ceremony, the Nation laid a blanket over the children and brought them home as gracefully as they could. We honour their leadership and fortitude, and are doubly committed to stand by the Nation as it prepares a landmark title challenge in the courts.

Join RAVEN as a monthly donor to sustain our work and be part of realizing more victories with Indigenous Nations!  

We also: 

• held Festival Afloat: 8 events from Montreal to Victoria raised $80k through creative, covid safe paddle powered concerts

• held 10 webinars, with fabulous partners Stop Ecocide and WE-CAN (West Coast Climate Action Network); 

• aired Season 2 of RAVEN Debriefs podcast, with 8000+ downloads; guests included Haida lawyer Terri- Lynn Williams- Davidson, ethnobotanist Nancy Turner, and Heiltsuk community organizer Jess Housty

This is all happening thanks to our incredible team, with some seriously amazing new people — Caitlyn Kerr, Levin Chamberlain, Russ Elliott — giving their all. 

Beyond the work of RAVEN, we’re seeing shifts in how we relate with the land and with one another. Across the country: we’re figuring out how to pay our rent. We’re on the bestseller list. We’re celebrating the return of the buffalo. We’re taking back jurisdiction over child welfare. We’re reframing land use as relationships and treating rivers  as relatives. We’re reflecting on ‘reconciliation’. We’re revitalizing language. We’re building bridges to land-sharing. We’re going solar. We’re shedding genocidal legacies. We are turning  the tide to enact self-government.  We’re realizing the power of Treaty rights. 

We love hearing about what has kept you going—and what you’re thinking about headed into next year. Take part in our year end community reflection survey.

Photo ©Paulina Otylia Photography.

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