First Nations rights and title are among the most robust drivers of conservation in Canada

First Nations rights and title are among the most robust drivers of conservation in Canada. 

RAVEN is the only non-profit charitable organization in Canada with a mission to raise legal defence funds to assist Indigenous Peoples who enforce their rights and title through the courts to protect their traditional territories. 

RAVEN’s Impact 

Supporting Indigenous-led initiatives to assert their sovereignty is an innovative and effective way to curtail unsustainable industrial development, drive systemic change, and continue the work of building toward decolonization and reconciliation. Founded in 2009, we have been around long enough now to have some proof that our approach works. Since 2014, RAVEN has raised more than $7.2M in support of Indigenous litigation. Their legal actions have resulted in cancellation of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline; protection of 83% of the Peel Watershed in Yukon; defence of Teztan Biny (Fish Lake),  and T’ak Tl’ah Bin (Morrison Lake) from mining developments; and cancellation of the Petronas Pacific Northwest LNG project at the mouth of the Skeena River.

Campaigns in progress include an evolving effort to hold government and corporate powers responsible for an oil spill on Heiltsuk territory; nationwide support for Beaver Lake Cree Nation’s continued pursuit of environmental justice to stop degradation of traditional lands by tar sands industries, opposition by Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs to a proposed LNG pipeline; and support for the Secwepemc Nation's strategic title case.


What We Believe

The environmental challenges that face many First Nations in Canada are really challenges for the entire world. Fundamentally, we believe these are issues of human rights and climate change - we are seeking environmental justice for all. The constitutional rights of First Nations are the strongest environmental laws in Canada (and possibly the world). The law is clearly on the side of First Nations: their victories will protect us all.

“RAVEN is really giving us hope: It’s beyond words how we appreciate what British Columbians and Canadians are doing to help stand beside us in our fight. It’s really humbling. How can you not feel like you’re going to win?” ~ kil tlaats’gaa Peter Lantin, Council of the Haida Nation


There is an inherent imbalance for Canadas Indigenous Peoples in their struggle to protect their rights and lands in our legal system. Indigenous leaders, advocates and their legal teams almost always face overwhelming odds when going against the established interests of large corporations and the governments that support them. Governments and wealthy corporations are able to hire large teams of lawyers and experts to bolster their arguments

Their resources appear almost endless in comparison to First Nations and their dedicated legal teams, who often work pro bono simply because of their belief in the cause. The background research and other costs involved in winning legal cases are invariably immense. Yet without adequate research and background information Indigenous causes are likely to fail in the Canadian legal systems. 

Most of RAVENs partner Nations are situated in small, remote communities. Poverty restricts their ability to pursue their rights through the courts. RAVENs support is important because it means they dont have to divert funds from critical community resources housing, education, resource management, infrastructure and mental health to fight for their rights. The recent court successes of our Indigenous partners are resulting in many more requests for RAVEN support.


RAVEN sees the inequity in accessing the legal system and is supporting those First Nations willing to take actionable steps to achieve parity.



Recent Victories

Facing intolerable pressure from Indigenous-led legal challenges supported by RAVEN, in 2017 the energy giant Petronas cancelled the pipeline and export facility on the mighty Skeena River. RAVEN raised $200,000 to support the Tsimshian tribe of Gitwilgyoots, the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs, the Gitxan House of Luutkudziiwus, and the Gitxsan House of Gwininitxw.

In a unanimous 2017 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the plan to protect the majority of the Peel Watershed in northern Yukon. Led by Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Vuntut Gwitchin and Na-Cho Nyäk Dun First Nations, RAVEN raised $120,000 for the three Yukon nations protecting their Treaty rights and one of the largest unspoiled natural areas left in North America.

In 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada struck a final blow to Taseko Mines Ltd.’s “New Prosperity” mine proposal in Tsilhqot’in territory. The mine would have desecrated Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), a culturally significant area with a genetically unique trout population. 

How You can Help 

1. Sustainability Fund 

RAVEN is a values-driven organization that operates on a lean budget without any government subsidy or support. The RAVEN team operates independently, untainted by government policy or agendas. We are selective about corporate funding and avoid binding ties to the oil, gas and extraction sectors. 

With your contribution, RAVEN will succeed in building capacity and infrastructure to successfully operate and fulfill our ambitious vision for the future. Your investment in the Sustainability Fund will directly impact the marketing, outreach, staffing and operational costs of RAVEN to ensure its long-term success and continued growth. RAVEN currently relies on donations from individuals and foundations to support the ongoing operational - core - costs of our dynamic organization.  

2. Legal Defence Campaigns  

Raising funds to support the legal defence of key projects is RAVEN’s mission. As noted above, RAVEN supports several strategic campaigns – ones that will have an impact on rights of First Nations in Canada, and on the future of our global climate.  We have new requests for support from many other Nations - taking them on is a matter of capacity and being fully funded for core operations. 

"RAVEN allows me to donate to Indigenous communities who are forced to go to court to defend their territory and their rights to self-governance and self-determination. As a settler who benefits from colonialism, I see it as my responsibility to find ways to push back against the colonial system and to support Indigenous communities." - Jessica S.

~ Jessica S. - Vancouver, BC 

To discuss a gift to RAVEN, please contact Laurie:


Posted by: RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs) on May 12, 2021.
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