For Immediate Release:

Community Members and Allies Hold Healing Walk Past Toxic Tailings Ponds North of Fort McMurray

“This is not a protest, but a way to help heal what has been destroyed and to give each other the spiritual strength to carry on.”

Saturday, June 25th (Fort McMurray) – Today hundreds of First Nations, Metis elders, community members and other supporters will take part in a ‘healing walk’ through the tar Sands area. The 13-kilometre walk on Highway 63 will pass by the vast tar sands operations of Syncrude and Suncor – once prime First Nation berry picking and hunting ground – to bring attention to the devastation of land and water and to show the real suffering that comes with tar sands development. The walk is organized by Keepers of the Athabasca, a network of First Nation, Metis and settler communities along the Athabasca River and will include people whose lives are directly and adversely impacted by Tar Sands operations.

Our relations are coming from the four directions to support us and we will walk in solidarity.”Consequently, we have no choice but to focus on our Healing and to ask our Creator for help.Our efforts to be a part of the decision-making process on what happens on our traditional territory have been totally ignored, said “Watching the impacts on the land, the water, the air and on the people of this land, leaves us with a deep sense of hopelessness and despair.

The walk is not a protest but a spiritual walk to offer prayers of peace and healing to Mother Earth so that she can resist the devastation caused by tar sands development. Participants are taking to the highway to help heal what has been destroyed and to give each other the spiritual strength to carry on.

“We are witnessing the cultural genocide of our people. The places where we traditionally picked berries or gathered medicines are being destroyed. The fish and animals that are our traditional diet are being poisoned and members of our community are dying. Something needs to be done,” said Celine Harpe of Fort McKay First Nation. “Today we walk to offer our prayers to mother earth who has held us for all this time. We hope to help her stay strong and resist this tar sands industry.”