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A solemn promise: Indigenous perspectives on the Douglas Treaties

15 March, 2017

West Coast's RELAW Project Lead Maxine Hayman Matilpi shares stories from a recent conference that brought together historians, legal scholars and Indigenous people who are direct descendants of the signatories to the Vancouver Island Treaties (aka Douglas Treaties). The topic spurred rich conversations about the ways Indigenous people view land and resources, as well as what it means to live under these treaties today.

Artwork by Isaac Murdoch.

Alright Vancouver Island peeps. Listen up:

A Kinder Morgan snapshot

14 March, 2017

It’s been a while since we’ve updated you about Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker expansion project (KMX). A lot has happened in the past few months, so here’s a snapshot of where we’re at.

It’s been a while since we’ve updated you about Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker expansion project (KMX). A lot has happened in the past few months, so here’s a snapshot of where we’re at:

Political approvals

We're seeking Expressions of Interest for the RELAW project

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
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RELAW is a project of West Coast Environmental Law supported and advised by the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU) at the University of Victoria, Faculty of Law. The RELAW project aims to deepen community-based capacity to engage in revitalization and application of Indigenous law to environmental decision-making and proactive land and water management.

Mni Wiconi: Water is life, more than ever

1 February, 2017

These simple and profound words, “Water is Sacred,” have become a call to action in North Dakota. Since April 2016, thousands of people have gathered there to protect water from “the Black Snake,” the Dakota Access pipeline proposed to bring oil under the Missouri River.

After a year of work on the RELAW project, West Coast's Maxine Hayman-Matilpi reflects on her own relationship and responsibilities to care for the sacred gift of water.

The words on this button have become my mantra: “Water Is Sacred. No Pipelines.” Isaac Murdoch’s image of Thunderwoman – the same image we see on social media, at Standing Rock, at protests encouraging divestment – is doodled into my notebook, on my calendar and emblazoned on my hoodie.

WCEL reacts to BC’s approval of Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

VANCOUVER, BC, Coast Salish Territories – Today’s announcement to approve the risky Kinder Mountain Trans Mountain Expansion is a disappointing, but unsurprising betrayal for generations of British Columbians. The BC Government’s 37 conditions do nothing to mitigate the risks of the project.

2017: A Look Ahead to Protect Nature, Climate and Communities

5 January, 2017

Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and see what we're most excited about for 2017!

From providing legal aid for communities to defend their environment, to revitalizing Indigenous laws, and holding fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in climate change – this year the West Coast team will continue working toward a better future for people and the environment in Canada.

Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and program staff, and see what we're most excited about in our work for 2017.

Carrying forward lessons from Northern Gateway

8 December, 2016

Understandably, those opposed to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project have not been in a mood to celebrate this past week. At the same time as the Prime Minister announced the federal government’s approval of Kinder Morgan (and the Enbridge Line 3 project), he confirmed something that most people already knew to be true: the Enbridge Northern Gateway project is dead. In addition to rejecting Northern Gateway, last week the federal government also provided preliminary details on oil tanker ban legislation that it will introduce in spring 2017.

The fact that First Nations, communities and individual citizens who opposed Northern Gateway were successful in stopping the project, even in the face of a previous federal approval and a determined pipeline company with deep pockets, deserves a moment of reflection.

Staff Counsel Gavin Smith with Geraldine Thomas-Flurer of the Yinka Dene Alliance during Northern Gateway court hearings in October 2015

How my view of the world changed over the course of a fight against a megaproject

Field notes: A week of pipeline action and cross-Canada solidarity

6 December, 2016

Staff Counsel Eugene Kung recounts an action-packed week preparing for – and responding to – the federal government's approval of the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline and tankers proposal.

This is your friend Eugene, blogging from 9,753 metres in the sky.

I’m writing on my way home after a full and intense week. According to the map, we are above Treaty 1 territory, somewhere between Winnipeg and Brandon, MB. A Tribe Called Red’s incredible new album, We Are the Halluci Nation, is blasting in my ear.

Northern Gateway rejection proves communities can stop pipelines – including Trans Mountain

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VANCOUVER, Coast Salish Territories –Today’s decision by the federal government to reject the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers proposal is an important and hard-fought victory says West Coast Environmental Law – one that paves the way for communities to put a stop to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project.

RELAW Project: Summer in review

19 September, 2016

Over the summer, the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water (RELAW) team has been busy working with stories, and travelling to visit with participating Nations about Indigenous laws. The six participating First Nations are looking at creating water policies, marine use plans, environmental codes of ethics, consent regimes, and environmental assessment practices all rooted in their own laws.

This presentation by Articled Student Lindsay Borrows summarizes in photos and stories some of the lessons and activities to date in revitalizing Indigenous laws through the RELAW Project.

 

 

Over the summer, the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water (RELAW) team has been busy working with stories, and travelling to visit with participating Nations about Indigenous laws.

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