The Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk – a final journey
This year RAVEN is taking a more active role in this important consciousness-raising gathering. Please consider supporting this experiential learning event and choose 2014 Healing Walk in the drop down box on our Canada Helps page.
This June 27th and 28th 2014 the Keepers of the Athabasca will host the fifth and final Healing Walk (www.healingwalk.org) just north of Fort McMurray, Alberta in the heart of the Athabasca Tar Sands. Keepers and other founders of the Tar Sands Healing Walk have worked hard to achieve the goals set out from the original healing walk. The goals were:
• To let the local communities know they had support in face of the rapid industrialization in their homelands
• To raise awareness of the Tarsands locally, nationally and internationally, and lastly
• To pray for the land.
Organizers want as many people as possible to join in this final year at the Healing Walk, “so we can show industry and government that we are strong and that we have local, national, and international allies. Together we can send a message that we will protect the land, air, and water from tar sands expansion.”
Jesse Cardinal, one of the founders, puts it this way: “Tar Sands development has caused serious damage in the region and land is being devastated; water is being taken and poison put in its place; air quality is diminishing; and the animals are being terrorized and displaced, no longer safe to live free; the berries and medicine are dissapearing; and Indigenous cultures and communities are in danger of being completely annihilated.”
Keepers understands the power of prayer and the need for healing, and are honored to host the Healing Walk. As the host, Keepers of the Athabasca hopes that your community will walk with them along with other Indigenous leaders and allies to offer our prayers to mother earth to heal from the destruction and contamination in the region. This is a walk of prayer, not protest.
The walk itself is over 13 km and travels through some of the most devastated and contaminated parts of the Tar Sands. Before the walk Keepers will host a meet and greet on June 27th at Indian Beach on Gregorie Lake allowing groups to make connections, share stories and participate in spiritual ceremony. After the walk is completed on June 28th they also welcome everyone to join them in a celebratory feast.
This year there will also be educational workshops, on a range of topics from understanding the tar sands industry to First Nations’ rights and the impact of litigation. RAVEN is assisting with fundraising for the walk this year and is proud to help with this illuminating and informative event. We have set up a special fundraising category in the choices on our donate page – please share with your networks!
Free Camping is available at Indian Lakes Beach on the Gregoire Lake near Fort McMurray First Nation. There are no power facilities at this campsite however, they will provide Porta Potties and water tanks as well as security on site. There are also hotels in Fort Mc Murray.
At the Healing Walk, plans for supporting the many communtites under threat from the expansion of the Tar Sands (including open pit mining and in situ technology) will be announced. In situ technology does not look as destructive as open pit mines but it threatens our land, air, water, and climate. At the Healing Walk this year there will be discussion as to how support the communities including plans for events in one community next summer. While this may be the final Healing Walk in Fort McMurray, it is the beginning of the next stage of the journey. Please join and help plan for the future.
We hope that you will consider joining us and sharing this event with your community. Please encourage your community to donate to support this important event. Although we have limited budgets we value the participation of First Nation communities and leadership and may be able to assist you in finding resources for attendance at this year’s walk.
If you plan to attend, need assistance attending or have any questions or concerns please call or email Jesse Cardinal at 780-404-5053 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: June 27th and 28th, 2014
Location: Fort McMurray (just north of Fort Mc Murray in the Tarsands)
June 27th 10am – Meet and Greet
July 28th 10:00am to 7pm – Ceremony, walk, feast