It may have been the last walk, but it was not the last stand against the oilsands, according to the organizers of the fifth and final Tar Sands Healing walk held in Fort McMurray last weekend.
Hundreds gathered for the walk on Saturday, a peaceful march around the 13-km “tar sands loop,” past numerous oilsands operations north of Fort McMurray. Their message was peaceful resistance and prayers for healing.
“Industry and government can’t continue to move forward without talking with First Nations,” Chief Allen Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation told the crowd gathered for the walk.
“Industry is destroying our future…the animals are talking to us. We can get back to do what’s right for our people,” said Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. “Let’s pray for everyone today.”
Eriel Deranger, one of the organizers of the walk, along with the Keepers of the Athabasca, told The Journal the healing walk has served its purpose to show local First Nations that they are not alone in their fight against uninhibited growth of the oilsands industry.
Now that they’ve achieved global attention, organizers plan to refocus their energy on giving locals the tools to take up the torch in their own communities.