- Thursday, July 4
- Registration begins
- Friday, July 5
- Registration and Workshops
- Saturday, July 6
- Healing Walk
By Alexis Bonogofsky, National Wildlife Federation
When I walked into the Oil Sands Discovery Centre a day after participating in the Tar Sands Healing Walk in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, the first thing I noticed was a clear dome on a stand, just tall enough for a young child to be able to peek into it. I walked up to the stand and looked in. A plate-sized glob of tar sands bitumen was in the dome with a metal rod poking out the top. On the sides were two vents that were covered with a flap that said, “Sniff.”
By Caitlyn Vernon, Huffingtonpost.ca
"Here," said a Heiltsuk friend as we began the walk, "put this in your pocket, it will help protect you." She handed me a piece of dried Devil's club bark, medicine from the B.C. coastal rainforest to carry with me as we walked by Alberta's tar sands facilities for the 4th annual Healing Walk.
By Meagan Wohlberg, Northern Journal
“A sacred child,” the newborn great-grandson of Fort McMurray elder Violet Clarke was proclaimed, and along with the rain that maintained its presence throughout the next two days, made the star of the event focused on purification, life and healing.
By Meagan Wohlberg, Northern Journal
As 500 marchers rounded the north bend of the 14 km “tar sands loop” north of Fort McMurray Saturday afternoon during the fourth annual Tar Sands Healing Walk, one of the event organizers received a phone call from her home community of Fort Chipewyan.
“The oil leak on the Athabasca River is now 40 km long and the width of the entire river,” Eriel Deranger called out, running in alarm to inform people throughout the site with her cell phone pressed to her ear.
By Emma Pullman, Huffington Post
Some fifteen years ago, at a Peace Gathering, an elder shared a prophecy. A baby boy would be born in a teepee on a buffalo robe, his birth signalling that now is the time to act. Last Thursday, on the eve of the 4th Annual Healing Walk in Fort McMurray, Alberta, a young woman went into labour. Her contractions came closer together. Grandmothers and mothers gathered to pray. And, at the stroke of midnight, inside a teepee, a healthy boy was born on a buffalo robe.
By Linda Solomon, Vancouver Observer
Her sobs carried across the crowd. Intermittently, propane cannons boomed to frighten wildlife away from the tailings pond. She was surrounded by First Nation chiefs and elders, people from Squamish, Fort McMurray, and Fort Chipewyan.
By Ethan Cox, The Tyee
A rental van slides off the muddy track running through the middle of our campsite, and sits at a comical 45 degree angle in the ditch. Its driver, who shall remain nameless, good-naturedly takes a ribbing for his driving skills from the assembled rubberneckers.
By Karlo Prado, Beacon News
Hundreds of Healing Walk participants gathered July 5-6 near Fort McMurray, the centre of the oil sands, from all across Canada in a joint bid to set meetings with both federal and provincial governments to discuss the harmful effects of tar sands expansion.
By Ben West, ForestEthics Advocacy
On Saturday morning I was walking through the slippery mud towards a row of school buses headed from our campsite in Alberta to the Tar Sands Healing Walk. The Healing Walk is a daylong trek around a massive tar sands processing facility, where the tarry gunk from beneath Canadian Boreal forest is squeezed into something closer to oil before transport.
Highlighting human and environmental cost of Canada's energy policy with Healing Walk through oil sands
By Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer
First Nations leaders, civilians and international media gathered on a rainy day near Fort McMurray on Friday for the annual 4th Annual Healing Walk, a spiritual gathering and 14-kilometre walk to pray for the healing of land and people at the front lines of Alberta's oil sands expansion.
By Vincent McDermott, Fort. McMurray Today
Over 500 activists and environmentalists joined First Nations elders for a 14 kilometre Saturday morning prayer march through the oilsands, braving the acrid smell of sulphur and a cloud of dust for the fourth annual Tar Sands Healing Walk.
By Brendan DeMelle, DeSmog Blog
Today, as hundreds of people joined First Nations leaders to walk 14 kilometers through the tar sands in Fort McMurray on the Tar Sands Healing Walk, news of several new oil disasters spread through the crowd and over social media networks.
Hundreds of people came from all over North America to learn, support, listen, share and heal with the First Nations & Métis living on the front line communities of tar sands development.
This is a collection of some of the most powerful images captured at the event.
By: Andy Rowell, Oil Change International
For years the First Nations communities that live in the Athabasca River region have had to breathe dirty air from tar sands extraction. They can no longer drink the local water. They have watched their land get destroyed, and the wildlife they have traditionally harvested become scare.
By: Emma Pullman, Vancouver Observer
While many Canadians are celebrating the 146th anniversary of this country, I don’t much feel like celebrating today. Right now, I am at the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, a community whose traditional territory is on both the Athabasca and Cold Lake tar sands projects. These are the 10 things Canadians should know about the Treaties upon which the tar sands are being developed.
By: Stephen Leahy, The Guardian
Native elders to lead a spiritual gathering to heal land, air, water and all living forms harmed by world's largest industrial project
By: Sarah Harmer, Huffington Post
There's nothing like getting out of your car and going for a walk to see things as they really are. How often do you walk a neighbourhood that you've otherwise always driven through, and notice the details that you've been whizzing by for years? The colours in a flowerbed, the carriage house tucked in the back, the hopscotch chalk on the sidewalk.
In Solidarity with the Healing Walk: Women's voices on the oilsands, pipelines, and climate change (VIDEO)
By: Nobel Women's Initiative, YouTube
From Alberta to British Columbia, women are a powerful and active force against the environmental, climate, and livelihood destruction of the tar sands and related pipeline and tanker projects.
By: Emma Pulman, Vancouver Observer
I travelled to the territory of the Cree, Dene and Métis peoples of northern Alberta, to learn about the tar sands and their impacts on the land and its inhabitants. It's been 80 years since my grandfather worked here as a fur trader, yet today the land is still being colonized for profits that are shipped away -- while the real costs are borne by the people and communities who have lived here all along.
By: Tzeporah Berman, Globe and Mail
I was arrested on the front lines of Clayoquot Sound, I have marched in climate protests in Ottawa, Washington, Copenhagen and Durban, South Africa. I have sat in the board rooms of major corporations arguing the merits of taking action to protect the planet. But now I find myself on the precipice of what feels like a new experience...
By: Maryam Adrangi, Council of Canadians
Over the past few months, I have been lucky enough to work with a few fabulous young women to organize a caravan of cars to head to the 4th Annual Healing Walk taking place in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Over 40 people from Vancouver alone will be travelling to Alberta in the next few days to take part in this ceremonial event.
By: Meagan Wohlberg, Northern Journal
With huge names, a complete day of concurrent workshops and an expected attendance of more than 500 people, the fourth annual Tar Sands Healing Walk near Fort McMurray has grown from being a small ceremonial march around the oilsands industrial area to a full-out educational and networking event for people from around the globe.
By: John Bennett, Rabble
It's not a protest. It's celebration of what was and can be again! I'm in need a spiritual boost these days. I'm in need of friendly faces and promises of a better tomorrow.
PRESS RELEASE, Eriel Deranger
Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation has issued a formal request to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver and Alberta Premier Allison Redford to join the fourth annual Tar Sands Healing Walk in Fort McMurray on July 6.
By: Derek Leahy, DeSmog Canada
“Protests, rallies, marches are all good and necessary, but we felt like people needed something more spiritual. Something to create or strengthen a connection to the land,” says Jesse Cardinal, co-organizer of the Healing Walk.
By: Clayton Thomas-Muller, Yes Magazine
Cree organizer Clayton Thomas-Muller provides a deeply personal account of a ceremonial healing walk through the broken landscape of Canada’s tar sands. This year’s walk begins July 4.
By: Hannah McKinnon, The Huffington Post Canada
First Nations are on the front lines of the devastating impacts of the tar sands. They breathe the smoggy air, and drink the polluted water. And in July, I'll join hundreds of people in a Healing Walk to symbolize our need to heal people and our shared planet.
This video is made of scenes from the film "Occupy Love" directed by Velcrow Ripper. Produced by Nova Ami, Velcrow Ripper & Ian MacKenzie. On July 5-6 people will come together from coast to coast to join First Nations and Metis in the Healing Walk, a gathering focused on healing the environment and the people who are suffering from tar sands expansion.