Island Tides, a regional newspaper of the Gulf Islands and Salish Sea area, has a story this week on Pull Together. http://www.islandtides.com/assets/IslandTides.pdf
Salish Sea luminaries Pull Together for First Nations
A new initiative, Pull-Together.ca, is offering citizens an opportunity to support First Nations who are headed for the courts to protect sacred wild places in BC. The Gitxaala, Heiltsuk, Nak’azdli, Nadleh Whut’en, and Kitasoo/Xai’xais nations are going to court to stop Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline.
The Pull Together initiative is being led by Sierra Club BC and RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Needs). The campaign sprung up following the lead of northern communities who have already stepped up to raise funds to support these First Nations in court. Says Susan Smitten, RAVEN’s Executive Director, ““With the dismantling of so much environmental legislation in Canada, the last —and hopefully inviolable— line of defense is First Nations’ Treaty and Constitutional rights.”
Here in the Gulf Islands citizens are responding to the call to ‘pull together’ in creative ways.
The campaign already received a boost last month when two sold-out Only Planet Cabaret shows in Salt Spring and Victoria pulled in $4500. A generous matching funds donor means that amount is doubled: to $9000. The campaign has passed the $100,000 milestone and is set to reach it’s goal of $250,000 by the end of the year.
Now, this November 1st, Mae Moore of Pender Island is producing the Pull Together Pender concert, featuring Salish Sea luminaries Daniel Lapp, Amy Heggie, Rick McMullen Clark Becker, Jaime Nickelson and Lester Quitzau.
Renowned as a folk musician, Moore recently shifted her focus to painting. “I went up to Klemtu and Bella Bella as part of Raincoast Foundations’s Art for an Oil Free Coast campaign,” says Moore. “The inspiration I came back with from my trip up there will be fuelling my paintings for years to come.”
One of the people Moore connected with on that journey was Heiltsuk First Nations councilor Jess Housty. Reflecting on the importance of the court challenges, Housty says “what’s at stake for us is our whole identity. It’s everything from our language, and our culture, and our spirituality, to the food we rely on, and the places where our ancestor’s bones rest.”
Housty, who will be coming to Pender Island for the Pull Together concert, has herself committed to support Pull Together. She and her fiancée are inviting guests at their upcoming wedding to fund these court challenges instead of buying gifts.
“It’s a huge battle, but I’m confident that we’re going to win, and I become more confident the bigger I realize that community of supporters is,” says Housty.
Moore agrees. “Before I went up to the central coast, I was opposed to the Northern Gateway— in my head. But when I went up there —it solidified in my heart: we can’t let tanker and pipelines through the Great Bear Rainforest. If an oil spill does happen, these people would lose everything… their culture, their livelihoods. It would be totally criminal: we can’t let it happen.”
Tickets to the Pull Together Pender show are $20 and are available at Southridge and Talisman. There will be art cards for sale and Moore encourages people to bring their chequebooks.
“My granddaughter turns 1 year old today. I’m doing this for her,” says Moore. “I want her to have a beautiful world to grow up in.”
Donate or fundraise online at www.pull-together.ca.