Water is life: a final chapter for Pull Together

Water is life.

That’s the organizing principle that drew so many of us together to fight the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project. Whether you are from the prairies or the mountains, the coast or the interior, you care deeply about leaving a legacy for future generations. And, you put your energy, donations, advocacy and passion on the line to stand with Indigenous Nations.  

All of that built a movement that is still urgent and necessary. 

Now, we have some bittersweet news about the Pull Together campaign that was the beginning — but not the end — of this wonderful community. 

Coldwater Nation, one of three Nations that, together with Squamish and Tsleil Waututh, went to court to push back against TMX, is in the final stages of community protocol for approving a re-route of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Their tireless legal campaign means that the pipeline will bypass the Nation’s drinking water aquifer in the Coldwater valley. This is a hard-won achievement for Coldwater Nation after years of litigation, largely made possible with your support. 

In an era when restoring, protecting and assuring drinking water for First Nations is a long-overdue priority, Nations should NOT have to go to court to prevent the fouling of their aquifers. Yet: thanks to you, Coldwater was able to stand up to powerful interests and force regulators to change the pipeline’s course. On behalf of the Nation, we thank you deeply. 

As you know, in 2020 Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Coldwater unfortunately lost their judicial review of the second approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline. However,  Coldwater did score a win, as their concerns about risks to the aquifer led to a special condition being included in the project’s Environmental Certificate. Based on that, Chief Spahan and Coldwater Council eventually negotiated with TMX a route that completely bypasses the aquifer and achieves their most important goal – protection of the community’s drinking water, salmon-bearing creeks and rivers, and the sacred sites associated with them.

We can celebrate this partial victory while supporting other avenues of opposition to Trans Mountain, such as divestment. We encourage you to check out the Indigenous-led Coast Protectors, and follow RAVEN to support ongoing Indigenous push-back against fossil fuel expansion and other unwanted ecological desecration.  Please check out our Defend the Treaties campaign with Beaver Lake Cree Nation, which is suing Canada and Alberta over the dramatic expansion of tar sands projects in Beaver Lake Cree territory. 

The journey to reshaping this land into a country that honours the ancestral stewardship values of Indigenous Peoples is a long one, but we move forward one stroke at a time. Thank you for paddling with us.

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