Last year, over 500 people, including Boisean James Blakely and a small group of Idahoans, went to Alberta to participate in a sacred First Nations ceremony known as the Tar Sands Healing Walk.
In 2009, First Nations people from the Athabasca region in Canada gathered for the first Healing Walk, to heal the land and the people being poisoned by the tar sands. It has been a sacred annual pilgrimage ever since.
On Thursday, May 29, Blakely will share his story, “A Modern Version of Hell in Canada: Journey through the Tar Sands,” at 6:30 p.m. at MK Nature Center, 600 S. Walnut St. in Boise.
“This place is Mordor to the people who live in its shadows” said Blakely in a press release. “Where there was once green, lush land, now lies large open pits where all life and earth have been removed. Smokestacks, which emit poisonous fumes, now dot the landscape where coniferous trees once stood. Folks really need to know what its like here and what the industry is doing to the people. You just have to see it to know it’s a very bad thing.”
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350 Boise is currently organizing Idahoans to join the 5th and final Healing Walk in Alberta in June. This will not be a protest or a demonstration, but rather a gathering focused on healing the environment and the people who are suffering from tar sands expansion. Thursday's presentation will provide an opportunity to learn about the Healing Walk and to sign up for this year’s journey.