This is flagrantly unfair. Can you step up for Beaver Lake Cree?



Indigenous People’s most hard-fought Constitutional protection could lose its meaning.‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Indigenous People’s most hard-fought Constitutional protection could lose its meaning.


RAVEN-Trust

On the west coast of North America, massive wildfires have blocked the sun. Amidst floods on the Gulf Coast and record breaking temperatures in the Arctic, the pressures of a changing climate are being felt across Turtle Island.

Today, a courageous Indigenous Nation is facing down that climate calamity with determined action. The Beaver Lake Cree are heading back to court, fighting to hold on to their advance costs award so they can pursue their groundbreaking case, the Tar Sands Trial.

The Nation needs $40,000 to pursue this appeal: if you are in a position to give, now is the time.

Last fall, the RAVEN community empowered Beaver Lake Cree Nation with the resources to pursue — and win — a partial advance costs award for a case that was ruled to be of national importance.

Outrageously, Canada and Alberta appealed, and in June the award decision was overturned by the Alberta Court of Appeal. The Court ruled that the Beaver Lake Cree government must exhaust all available resources before they can qualify for any amount of advance costs. Essentially: the BLCN government must bankrupt itself in order to defend its treaty and constitutional rights.

This precedent cannot stand. The decision to revoke funding for Beaver Lake Cree essentially closes the door for other Nations to receive advance costs awards to pursue justice. It is a setback to reconciliation: that’s why the Beaver Lake Cree are filing an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

According to Beaver Lake Cree’s Government Relations Adviser & Treaty Coordinator Crystal Lameman, “The Alberta Court of Appeal has so severely narrowed the criteria for financial need that it will be impossible for most First Nations to obtain an advance cost order.”

In the ruling, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that if Nations were recipients of federal funding, proven in multiple reports to be woefully inadequate — including the type of critical funding that is afforded any municipality in the country for roads, infrastructure, and health care — they would be disqualified from receiving advance costs. The costly demands placed on First Nations to vindicate their constitutional rights in court clash with a painful reality – First Nations are amongst the poorest people in Canada. Amidst that poverty, their governments are responsible for ensuring their communities endure and thrive over many generations. Yet a community cannot survive if its members are destitute or lands spoiled.

If this decision is not challenged, Nations that struggle to meet their communities’ basic needs - such as providing for water, housing, and a healthy ecosystem - will have no option to receive advance costs awards to pursue their legal rights.

People power has kept the Tar Sands Trial alive through nearly a decade of government’s delay tactics. It’s energizing to reflect on our past successes, so that we can once again muster our forces to deliver the resources Beaver Lake Cree require — and deserve — to take on the Tar Sands behemoth.

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If this tenacious First Nation can take their treaty rights case to trial, the Nation could set a precedent that forces all projects to be evaluated according to their cumulative impacts on Indigenous rights. That victory would forever change the way business is done in Canada’s oil patch.

We’ve known for a long time that in this climate crisis, expanding the Tar Sands spells climate disaster. What we also know is that there are hundreds of thousands of people like you who are willing to disrupt, speak out, and take action. Thank you for contributing what you can, and for standing with the Beaver Lake Cree Nation.

With determination and gratitude,

Andrea Palframan
& the RAVEN team


P.S. Beaver Lake Cree Nation needs just $40k to pursue this appeal. Can you chip in?

More ways to support our groundbreaking work:

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