VANCOUVER—On July 4th, dozens of residents from Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley will be driving to Fort McMurray, Alberta to take part in the 4th Annual Healing walk, and responding to northern Albertan communities’ call to “Stop the Destruction and Start the Healing.”
“Pipeline opposition is really gaining momentum in this province,” says Ian Stephen, a resident of the Fraser Valley who will be attending the Healing Walk with his daughter. “But we need to know what is going on at the source of these pipelines and what people face every single day. That is why I will be heading up with my family. We need to see where this dirty fuel comes from and know what it is doing to the people.”
The Healing Walk is an event that began when Indigenous peoples impacted by the tar sands recognized the need to heal from the destruction, and is held annually. While beginning as a one-day ceremony and a walk, the event has now grown to a two-day event with added workshops and speakers, which include Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Tantoo Cardinal, and Wab Kinew.
“We are constantly fighting to stop these projects, both pipelines and the tar sands,” says AJ Klein, one of the organizers of the caravan. “As are people who live there, but they also recognize the need for healing. This is an open invitation for people from all over to come see what they are fighting against, and to join people in a community-building event.”
The Council of Canadians is funding a 12-seater van and car to go to the Healing Walk, while other groups such as LeadNow, Forest Ethics Advocacy, Greenpeace, and the PIPE-UP Network will also be sending members to the walk as part of the caravan.
As the tar sands continue to expand, there has been increased pressure on and contamination of freshwater resources, which jeopardize human health and the environment.
Indigenous communities have put out an invitation for people to take part in a traditional ceremony. They have also invited Alberta Premier Redford and Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver, who recently said that water in the region will soon be clean enough to drink. A call put out by Healing Walk organizers has asked these politicians to attend the event to see for themselves.
For more information about the Tar Sands Healing Walk: www.healingwalk.org