This World Oceans Day, join Heiltsuk Nation to restore marine ecosystems.

Today is World Oceans Day. It’s a day to celebrate the awe-inspiring ecosystems that make up our planet’s oceans. It’s also a day to uplift the people who are working year-round, across the generations, to steward and protect life-giving marine resources. 

RAVEN is highlighting Heiltsuk Nation today. We’re shining a light on the groundbreaking work being done in the community in the wake of the Nathan E. Stewart spill in 2016. The disaster sparked a legal challenge currently underway against Canada, B.C. and the U.S.-based Kirby Corporation who was responsible for the spill.

In the difficult days and months following the Nathan E. Stewart spill, Heiltsuk mariners struggled with tough questions. How would the community recover from the onslaught of tens of thousands of litres of dirty oil spilled right on their beaches? And more importantly: how could they stop it from happening again? 

“You know, for us, it’s about our livelihood,” says Kelly Brown, head of Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department (HIRMD).” We caught up with Brown during a visit to Bella Bella last fall, when the community was celebrating the purchase of Shearwater Lodge as part of their visionary plan for their community’s economic and ecological sustainability.  

“We still have families that are 100%, dependent on the resources that are in the wild and in the ocean. And they haven’t been able to harvest these past few years.  It’s almost impossible to measure the full impact on our way of life. So we’re thankful to RAVEN, and other people who have been able to support the efforts for fundraising.”

Heiltsuk are seeking compensation for the spill damage, but are also pushing for recognition of Indigenous title to the foreshore and seabed in the spill area. To support Heiltsuk’s legal challenge — and to double your impact with matching funds — donate today. 

illustration by Karissa Chandrakate

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