A year ago, we beat Goliath. Ready for Round 2?
Remember the feeling, just one year ago?
On August 30, 2018, leaders of Indigenous Nations gathered on Vancouver’s shoreline to announce a resounding win for people and the planet. With the sweeping mountains of the North Shore behind them, one by one chiefs and elders stepped forward to express the significance of their legal victory against the Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers project.
Coldwater Chief Lee Spahan stated: “Thankfully, the court has stepped in where Canada has failed to protect and respect our rights and our water. Our members will be hugely relieved.”A stream of joyous and celebratory messages poured in for Indigenous leaders, as people who have stood firm with First Nations leaders expressed their deep gratitude and appreciation.
But alas: that wasn’t the end of the story. After the court ruled that consultations fell “well short of the mark,” a hasty re-do was ordered through the National Energy Board. Indigenous peoples were — once again — testifying against a project which would wipe out ancestral burial grounds, destroy generations-old salmon runs and decimate orca habitat.
The case First Nations have against Canada and TMX — owned now by the Canadian government — is as strong, if not stronger, than the one that quashed the project one year ago. We don’t need more evidence that this project is misguided: between the overwhelming scientific consensus that we’re in a global climate emergency, the loss of three more resident orca whales, and the sharp decline in prices for tar sands oil, the idea that this project is in the national interest is indefensible.
“I feel we have more on board to win than we ever have,” says Rueben George of Tsleil Waututh Nation. “First Nations have won 250 legal battles against resource extraction in court in the last two and a half years. In our language we say: One heart, one mind and one prayer together.”
Despite the cost — both in resources and community capacity — First Nations are pressing on with legal challenges to TMX. Court challenges are expensive, and divert resources from much-needed community support. It doesn’t seem right that these Nations should have to shoulder the burden alone. Let’s do all we can to support them so they can have the staying power to stand up to a government that can outspend them $100 to $1 in court.
Why? Because against all odds, we’re winning.
In just over a month, a groundswell of people have stepped forward to raise an amazing $75k for this next round of the Pull Together campaign. Online fundraisers have launched crowdfunders, and this week a group of friends held a backyard potluck and raised $1546! You can join this movement to stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project today: support any one of these awesome crowdfunding pages, or sign up here to start organizing a fundraising event in your community.
Because of you, in 5 years we’ve stopped one pipeline and seriously delayed another. There’s no words for the magnitude of what we have accomplished so far, but the Halq’eméylem word “iyálewethet” comes close. It means, “to commit to realizing a goal no matter what,” and it sums up the common purpose of our movement and the depth of your commitment. Thank you for your passionate conviction, let’s keep pulling, together.
Hey! Wondering where to start? Get inspired by people like you who have set up online fundraisers: then click here to order your Pull Together Action Kit.