When I got back home after the tar sands Healing Walk last month, I had the strange sensation of being both exhausted and
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.
"We don't know what the hell is going on under the ground". That's what Crystal Lameman, a member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation told me this morning. On June 27, an oil spill occurred at Canadian Natural Resources Limited's Primrose operations. The spill happened on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, located in a region The Royal Canadian Airforce calls "the inhospitable wilds of northern Alberta and Saskatchewan." This 'inhospitable' region happens to be in her community's traditional hunting territory where her family traditionally hunted and trapped and where her elders are buried.
For the Healing Walk, I've been warned that I should wear a gas mask if it's a hot day, when air pollution is at its worst. I've been told that my heart will break to see proud communities march through what is left of their traditional land and hunting grounds. I've been told it will forever change the way I see the tar sands, and the people who face them every second of every day.