First Nations Leader Calls on Politicians to Experience Tar Sands Firsthand at 2013 Healing WalkMinister Joe Oliver and Premier Redford Invited to Join More than 500 Residents and Concerned Citizens From Across Canada, US
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.
A fourteen-kilometre, day-long journey, hosted by the Keepers of the Athabasca, the Healing Walk is a spiritual gathering focused on healing the traditional territory of the nations that has been impacted by tar sands expansion.
"We believe that our politicians are out of touch and have no idea what it is like to live day-to-day in a place that has been made toxic by out of control tar sands development.
It is important for them to experience this place, to drink the water, breathe the air and hear from the people who are quickly losing hope for a livable future for their children and grandchildren," said Chief Adam.
"On behalf of our nation and the more than five hundred others who will join us on this journey, we invite Minister Oliver and Premier Redford to walk alongside us."
To encourage participation by the politicians, the nation has also issued a formal petition, which to date has already gathered close to 7000 signatures. The petition can be found on the Healing Walk website at http://www.healingwalk.org/helpfromhome
Hundreds of participants from across Canada and the US have registered to attend the walk and many will be making their own pilgrimages both before and after the event to raise continued awareness of the impact expansion is having not only in Alberta but in other provinces and in states that are facing proposed oil and gas infrastructure development.
Saskatoon's Dion Tootoosis of the Poundmaker Cree will ride a bicycle from Halifax to Fort McMurray sharing his hope for a sustainable future, and a group from the US will undertake a Compassionate Walk along the Keystone XL pipeline route from Alberta to Nebraska to encourage care and respect for the earth after participating in the Healing Walk.
Award winning journalist and author Naomi Klein will also join the Healing Walk.
"Canada's dependence on dirty oil money is sickening our country in countless ways. Not only is the land itself being poisoned, alongside the people who depend on that land, but the tar sands boom is poisoning our collective political culture as well," she said.
"It is being poisoned by escalating attacks on First Nations rights, by the dismantling of crucial environmental protections, and by the gagging of scientists whose findings are inconvenient to the quest for ever more extraction.
I am participating in this sacred walk because it invites us all to begin a process of healing - healing the land from violence, healing ourselves from our dependence on an economy based on that violence, and healing our deeply imperiled democracy."
More information about the Healing Walk and to register to participate, visit the website at www.healingwalk.org