Jun 26, 2014 - Honor the Earth Environmental Features: Eriel Deranger, Desmond Tutu and the Tar Sands Healing Walk

On this week’s Honor the Earth Environmental Feature, powerhouse activists Eriel Deranger (spokesperson for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak, from the “As Long as the Rivers Flow” conference that took place last month in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Eriel Deranger, a prolific Indigenous rights activist and long-time organizer, talks about the importance of coalition-building and the need to work across difference to truly challenge the status quo. Eriel details the many, many notable examples of Indigenous resistance all over “Canada”, from Aamjiwnaang to Elsipogtog, and provides highlights from the last year, since the start of the “Idle No More” movement.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a world-renowned activist and spiritual leader, speaks about the “key to our collective future on this planet” as our “responsibility to take action has never been clearer”. Tutu speaks to the need for citizen-led strategies and ways to challenge the “utter death of magnanimity” as we collectively face down what he calls our most important struggle today.

Additionally, we hear voices from the 2013 Tar Sands Healing Walk, an 8 mile walk through the tar sands, “one of the most violent projects on Earth”(1), in the Athabasca region. Speakers Eriel Deranger, Melina Laboucan-Massimo and Clayton Thomas-Muller describe how the walk started, the impacts of the tar sands on the local communities, what it means for the people of the local communities and the visitors who come to participate, and the devastating slick and train derailment that took place during last year’s Healing Walk, impacting the communities along the Athabasca River and in Lac-Megantic(2). This year’s walk is the 5th and final Healing Walk in the Athabasca tar sands region and you can find out more information and how to support a www.healingwalk.org

Listen to Honor the Earth Environmental Features: Eriel Deranger, Desmond Tutu And The Tar Sands Healing Walk full segment here:https://soundcloud.com/honortheearth/honor-the-earth-environmental-features-eriel-deranger-desmond-tutu-and-the-tar-sands-healing-walk

For more on tar sands and the impacts to First Nations communities, please see this article by Winona LaDuke, with Martin Curry, entitled “Tar Sands, Pipelines, and the Threat to First Nations”: http://energy-reality.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/27_Threat-to-First-Nations_R2_032813.pdf.

Listen to Eriel Deranger & Desmond Tutu on the Tar Sands Healing Walk here https://docs.google.com/a/msvl.k12.wa.us/file/d/0B6kBsNSoghvkemx6cDFsNDR3bTQ/edit

1. Vasey, Dave, Sonia Grant and Sakura Saunders (2013). “Ethical Enbridge? The real story of Line 9 and the tar sands giga-project”. From: http://rabble.ca/news/2013/01/mcethicaltm-enbridge-line-9-and-tar-sands-gigaproject

2. “Lac-Megantic Disaster”. (2014). From: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/lac-megantic/index.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Last Real Indians