Growing from the inside out

Growing from the inside out r1 ... You're part of a wave of justice. Celebrate! r33


It’s been quite a while since our last News from the Nest - you were no doubt scratching your head wondering what’s going on?! Well to start with….


On April 1, 2019, RAVEN achieved a decade of raising legal defence funds to assist Indigenous Nations who enforce their rights and title to protect their traditional territories. From an idea, hatched by lawyer Jack Woodward, and brought to fruition by our intrepid team (and literally thousands of supporters), RAVEN has grown into the energy that is harnessed by the trickster bird. We have partnered with almost two dozen Nations, and taken on the challenges of access to justice, Aboriginal rights, environmental protection and a deep commitment to righting historical wrongs through legal theory of change.

At times it’s taken a lot of gumption to keep going - particularly when faced with the financial realities of fundraising for legal actions in Canadian courts. And yet we are constantly buoyed, grateful and sustained by the generosity of people around the world who have had a collective ‘aha’ that the Indigenous Peoples who stewarded the land for millenia are continuing to do so, based on legal rights which are among the strongest in the world for protecting the planet. The results speak for themselves: protected watersheds, quashed pipelines, pushed back open pit mines, and a pending history-making trial to contain the tar sands - all to protect Indigenous lands, rights and a future for us all.

Our thanks to our Circle of Allies, and everyone who has been with us over the past ten years. The next ten promise to be just as meaningful and exciting!


What is better than tacos? Tacos on a fair, sustainable planet!! Here at RAVEN we adore @Bandidas_taqueria, and not just for the #handcraftedbeer. This Sunday, April 28, the amazing people of Bandidas will host and all-day #EarthDay fundraiser with proceeds to our #Heiltsuk and #Secwepemc legal fundraisers. Get in on it! RAVEN's Executive Director Susan Smitten will join the festivities to hand out stickers and answer any questions. Looking forward to seeing you a the fiesta!

RAVEN People Rising - May is Movie Month!

Time to get out the popcorn popper and set up the screen!! This May people are stepping up for the #PeoplesPremiere of #RavenPeopleRising. Screenings of the short documentary are happening all over the place, and online fundraising is happening virtually everywhere! Check out our website for events near you and to sign up.

The #RavenPeopleRising documentary has screened a dozen times: our goal is to have 100 screenings and reach 5,000 people with the hopeful message and powerful call to action in this film. This is how we build a force of support behind the Heiltsuk Nation: bringing people together to get informed, to donate, and take action.

Big Oil, newly empowered by a win by the UCP in Alberta, is eyeing the Pacific Coast as a fossil fuel export superhighway. The Heiltsuk have already pushed one major project out of the Great Bear Rainforest, and now they are laying the legislative framework to protect the ocean itself from ill-suited development. After warm initial events in Seattle, Nanaimo, and Duncan BC, we’re ready to go big.

Let’s build the movement to #StandwithHeiltsukCoastHeroes together!


In February, Beaver Lake Cree Nation made its case in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench for an Advanced Cost Order (ACO). This unusual step, if successful, would see government pay costs toward the BLCN trial (filed back in 2008) and would ensure the Nation has the funds needed to see the trial through to the end. An article on the rationale for courts awarding costs is here.

“Canada’s position in Court stands in stark contrast to the high-level promises of the Trudeau government to promote reconciliation and to listen to Indigenous people,” says Ms Karey Brooks, legal counsel for Beaver Lake Cree. “Without this case, and the advanced funding order, these critically important issues will not get resolved.”

To raise the funds needed for the ACO hearing, RAVEN pulled out all the stops. The wave of support from all across the country last fall/winter and into 2019 has been incredible - we’ve raised $280,000 and counting, more than 90% of it from people organizing, fundraising, and donating to see justice done. Please accept our most heartfelt gratitude.

And a huge shout out to movement allies, such as Equiterre, the Leap, and Climate Justice Edmonton, along with online fundraisers who have reached out to family and friends for support for the Beaver Lake Cree. Without them, this would not have been such a tremendous success.

As we all wait for the court decision, know that you are doing your part to defend the spirit of the Treaties, and to forge a new way forward for this country that upholds the rights of the Indigenous Peoples who have stewarded the land, air and water since time immemorial. It is our honour to be standing with you.


We all celebrated at the news that the Tsilhqot’in Nation scored a crucial, though temporary victory in the ongoing back-and-forth fight in the courts against Taseko Limited’s New Prosperity mine. At the end of March, the BC Supreme Court granted an injunction application by the Tsilhqot’in that prevents Taseko Mines from doing exploratory drilling around Teztan Biny – drilling that was upheld by the BC Court of Appeal.

The Tsilhqot’in are now seeking leave to appeal the appeal court decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, arguing the area of the proposed mine is a site where they have proven Aboriginal rights to hunt, fish and trap.

“The injunction prohibits (Taseko) from carrying out the drilling program until the Supreme Court of Canada decides whether to hear an appeal of British Columbia’s decision to approve the drilling program,” the Tsilhqot’in said in a press release.

The exploration permit will dig up an area to create 70 kilometres of roads and 122 test pits. Though the mine has been rejected — twice — by the federal government, a drilling permit was issued by the outgoing BC Liberals.

Meanwhile, the Federal Court of Appeal has yet to rule on Taseko’s challenge to the second federal rejection of the mine. Taseko filed two judicial reviews, and lost in federal court in December 2017. The company appealed - the appeal hearing was heard in early 2018.


Spring in all its glory is upon us - and as Richard Wagamese noted, “Nothing in the universe ever grew from the outside in.” We give thanks for the grace of this season. And thanks to everyone who is with us on this quest to support Indigenous rights and the best possible version of our beautiful blue/green planet.

With love and solidarity,

Your RAVEN team

Susan, Ana, Laurie, Andrea, Leah, Michelle and Josie

Copyright © 2019 RAVEN, All rights reserved.
You signed up on our website or donated to one of our fundraising campaigns.

Our mailing address is:
RAVEN509 - 620 View StreetVictoria, BC V8W 1J6 Canada

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