First Nations court challenges constitute the last legal line of defence against many massive industrial energy projects. They were integral at putting a stop to the Enbridge pipeline, and are currently keeping fires of hope alive in the hearts of many environmentally-minded Canadians when it comes to putting an end to Kinder Morgan and Site C.
The fact that so many Nations are compelled to channel limited resources into fighting costly legal battles simply to defend their constitutionally-guaranteed rights is a shameful reality of business as usual in Canada, and we need to be be fighting for our governments start living by their own laws proactively, instead of illegally perpetuating the cycle of violence against First Nations, and expecting Canadian taxpayers to pick up the tab for their legal missteps.
In the mean time, RAVEN Trust (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs) has been partnering with environmental non-profits, community groups, and First Nations to raise funds to offset the costs incurred by the Nations at the front line of these court cases. It was an honour for Force of Nature to be invited into RAVEN's 2017 Pull Together coalition along with the Sierra Club of BC, where we worked side-by-side to run an amazing and inspiring campaign that raised over $625,000.00 for the Tsleil Waututh, Squamish, Coldwater and Secwepemc challenges to Kinder Morgan.
As usual, our role in this campaign was to roll up our sleeves and put our powerful on-the-ground organizing capacity to work, mobilizing hundreds of community groups, businesses, university clubs and individuals across the continent to organize their own creative distributed fundraising events. From bake sales to art auctions, drag shows and swim-a-thons, the list of creative actions was virtually endless. We also organized our own solidarity rallies for the nations and hosted two fun and stylish "Pints not Pipelines" parties with craft beer, creative prizes and killer tunes.
The highlight of Pull Together was the incredible team spirit that brought thousands of groups and individuals together working creatively and democratically for a single goal. Organizers Mary Lovell and Jake Hubley took the lead on the project, and you can read more about Mary's experiences here, read Jake's blog here, check out some of the amazing project examples here, and, most importantly, go to the Pull Together site to donate to fund these ongoing legal challenges!