ACTIVISM | Pull Together: Supporting First Nations legal challenges against Enbridge

By Caitlyn Vernon, Sierra Club BC Campaigns Director  —

 

Who knew stopping a pipeline could be so much fun?! Or that it would include chocolate bars, concerts, beer tastings, wilderness trips, and pancake breakfasts?

The Pull Together campaign was launched last year on the heels of the federal government’s approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project pipeline and tankers. Community groups in Smithers and Terrace hosted small scale fundraisers to support the seven northern First Nations who initiated legal challenges to stop the Enbridge pipeline. These northern communities knew firsthand what was at stake, and the power of standing with First Nations. They approached Sierra Club BC and RAVEN Trust to create a campaign and challenged the rest of us to step up. Pull Together is a tangible way individuals, communities, and businesses can provide financial support to First Nations and moral support to everyone on the front lines against Enbridge.

North West Watch, a community group in Terrace, BC, launched the Pull Together campaign with a spaghetti dinner in Terrace that raised $2000 for First Nation legal challenges against Enbridge. Photo: North West Watch

North West Watch, a community group in Terrace, BC, launched the Pull Together campaign with a spaghetti dinner in Terrace that raised $2000 for First Nation legal challenges against Enbridge. Photo: North West Watch

First Nations deserve our full support in their legal battles against Enbridge’s proposed pipeline and tanker project…. We can work to prevent the potentially devastating environmental impact… and we can also engage with First Nations in a way that honours their traditional ties to the land”

What started as a spaghetti dinner in Terrace has raised over $350,000 in the last year to support the First Nation legal challenges against Enbridge. Our goal is to raise $250,000 more, to support the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo-Xai’xais, Gitga’at, Haida, Gitxaala, Nadleh Whut’en, and Nak’azdli Nations as they go to court this October. And we need your help!

Pull Together is marking the one year anniversary of the federal decision to approve Enbridge Northern Gateway with a Week to End Enbridge, June 13-21: a week of events around the province to raise funds for the First Nation legal challenges. (It won’t end there—you can help support Pull Together right up until the court hearings this fall.)

Individuals, community groups, and businesses have donated and organized events ranging from music shows and film screenings, to paddles and bake sales. Community events this spring in support of Pull Together have included an art auction and beer tasting in Terrace, a seafood festival and community dance on Haida Gwaii, a climate change cabaret in Nanaimo, and music concerts in Victoria and Vancouver. Who knew stopping a pipeline could be so much fun?!

Stopping Enbridge Northern Gateway is also serious business—over 70 businesses across the province have signed on to support the campaign. The list keeps growing every day. These businesses understand that pipelines and tankers are not good for our economy. An oil spill would be catastrophic for the many farming, tourism, and fishing jobs that depend on healthy land, healthy rivers, and an oil-free coast.

Cafes, bakeries, yoga studios, and stores throughout BC have signed on in solidarity to donate a portion of their proceeds to the campaign.

“I am proud to support the Pull Together campaign,” says Daniel Terry, president of Denman Island Chocolate. “I believe First Nations deserve our full support in their legal battles against Enbridge’s proposed pipeline and tanker project. We have been given a unique opportunity. We can work to prevent the potentially devastating environmental impact of this sort of industrial development, and we can also engage with First Nations in a way that honours their traditional ties to the land. They are fighting for their survival and for ours too and it is essential that we do everything we can to bolster their efforts.”

We don’t have the resources that big corporations do… so every little bit helps. We’re just so grateful for people helping.”

Hardworking farmers are also pulling together—several farms have already offered to donate a percentage of their farm sales from the full season. Outfitters and tourism businesses are standing with the First Nations as well. Spirit Bear Lodge will donate the full package price on behalf of the next two guests who request that their trip cost be donated to Pull Together.

“The Spirit Bear and the Great Bear Rainforest are too precious to all of humanity to let Enbridge take chances with the future of the coast,” said Spirit Bear Lodge general manager Tim McGrady. “The Kitasoo/Xaixais have worked too hard to build a sustainable future based on tourism and their marine resources to see it put in jeopardy by the Northern Gateway Project. We fully support the Pull Together campaign.”

With a strong majority of British Columbians opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers, people across the province have been answering the call to action. In the words of Marilyn Slett, elected chief of the Heiltsuk Nation: “We’re a small community; we’re doing what we can to stop this project. We don’t have the resources that big corporations do, or the government has, so every little bit helps. We’re just so grateful for people helping. Every dollar that’s raised will help our communities and help our people take this stand.”

Will Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District join Pull Together, for the Week to End Enbridge or beyond? Together we can stop this pipeline and tankers, and build a future we can all be proud of. For more information or to get involved visit www.pull-together.ca. If you’d like to organize a community event or know of a local businesses interested to participate, please contact galen@sierraclub.bc.ca.

 

Please also check out this video:  https://vimeo.com/126887351.

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