#Fearless Summer: Healing Journey In The Heart Of Darkness

I’m leaving for northern Alberta early Wednesday morning, to make the 24-hour drive to Fort McMurray, the heart of tar sands country. Mordor. The 4th Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk, organized by Keepers Of the Athabasca, is happening on Saturday and I’m lucky enough to have the time, resources, and a traveling companion, to make this trip. I can’t think of any place on earth more in need of healing than this place.

The Keepers Of The Athabasca describe the event this way:

The tar sands are growing out of control, destroying the climate for all Canadians and poisoning the water of everyone living downstream.

On July 5th and 6th, people will come together from coast to coast to join First Nations and Metis in the Healing Walk, a gathering focused on healing the environment and the people who are suffering from tar sands expansion.

Let’s call on the Alberta and Canadian governments to stop the reckless mismanagement of these resources. We need our governments to work with First Nations and bring people together to make wise choices about stewarding the land in ways that are sustainable and fair.



Can’t go? Click here for some ideas for what you can do from home, including inviting Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, and Alberta Premier Alison Redford, to the walk.

Healing Walk 2013

Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein To Join Tar Sands Healing Walk

Fearless Summer Movement Launches Months of Intense Climate Protest

Manitoba Elder Putting Life on The Line To Stop Canadian Government’s Dismantling of Treaty Rights

chief george manuel quote

It’s a sad day in Canada when First Nations elders and leaders are put in the position that fasting and self-sacrifice are the only avenues left for them to communicate with the Canadian government. As Amnesty International points out:

The Canadian constitution affirms the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Treaties that they entered into with Canada. Canadian courts have called the protection of Indigenous rights “an underlying constitutional value”, “a national commitment”, and a matter of “public interest”.

Governments in Canada are supposed to act as guarantors of First Nations’ rights. Yet that is the opposite of what the current federal government is doing; instead they are actively working to dismantle the rights of Canada’s First People (see Russ Diabo’s “Harper Launches Major First Nations Termination Plan: As Negotiating Tables Legitimizes Canada’s Colonialism”). Elder Ray Robinson of Cross Lake in Northern Manitoba is currently on his 6th day of consuming no food or water, hoping to get the Government of Canada to show respect for First Nations Treaty Rights and way of life; he is putting his life on the line. Elder Robinson wrote this yesterday:

I am not demanding anything from anyone; this is a spiritual fast. I am refusing the necessities of life; food and water. I am praying and meditating constantly for the creator to show mercy and compassion to the people of the world of all colors and races. I am praying to bring down all the préjudices, and all the boundaries that have separated the people of this world.

I am seeking intervention, mercy, and compassion that the differences that are arising from these treaty relationships between First Nations and the Crown be restored.

I am praying that the two nations of Canada; First Nations and the Crown start seriously working together on a Nation-to-Nation basis. That is what I pray for on this fast. It’s a spiritual fast.

As a Grand Elder have a duty and an obligation to always live by the sacred teachings that have been handed down by the First Elder, our Creator; I pray for people regardless of race, creed, or belief. I pray that people work together for the stability and cohesiveness and well being of all common men and women. I pray for this world to aspire to work together. And that is what I’m doing on this fast without food and water.

I encourage everybody to always aspire to come from the same respect, to always come from the natural laws of life; for that is the real red road. These natural laws are; respect, honor, humility, honesty, truth, courage, and wisdom. These seven natural laws are intertwined, they are in balance. One cannot go without the other, they must always come as one, for when you break one, you break them all. Not only do you break them with the creator, but we also break them with ourselves, with Mother Earth. So I encourage you to always come from that respect.

This video was posted on Saturday:



Communities across Canada are holding candlelight vigils for Elder Robinson – click here to find out about one happening close to you, or about how to organize one in your own community. If you are on twitter, use the hashtag #RayofHope when spreading the word.

More links:


Amnesty International: Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Negotiations On Framework Agreements in NS, NB Are Illegal, Says Wabanaki Confederacy


Is Stephen Harper Trying to Provoke A Confrontation With First Nations?

Idle No More: A Response By People Who Feel Like Hostages In Their Own Country

If you’re looking for some more information on the IdleNoMore campaign, MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay) gives a good summary in this video. He is discussing the NDP Opposition Day motion on dealing with First Nation economic development and treaty rights. The response from the CPC MP, Cheryl Gallant, who represents a more southerly Ontario riding, is telling. In essence, she says that all First Nations need is more control over businesses on their reserves, and their problems will be solved; typical neoconservative BS, in other words. Angus’s response is restrained, considering what he could have said.





Manitoba Wildlands: Idle No More resources

A Fresh Look At The War On Terra

I don’t know about you, but I’m having a crappy Friday. Not much to be done about it now but hang in there, I know it will get better. In the meantime, here’s The Juice Media’s satirical take on the War on Terror Terra: how have the “capitols of the civilized world” Australia and Canada helped to bring about the apocalypse lately?

Juice Rap News – Episode 17: The War on Terra. It’s 2013 and the world did not end by meteorite or by Mayan calendar. But fear not: we might just be able to get the job done ourselves. Join Robert Foster as he sets out to discover where Civilisation™ is making the fastest progress towards annihilation. In this edition of the Civilisation Report, Robert learns about Australia and Canada – two oft-neglected pioneers of peace, progress and prosperity – in conversation with our antipodean colonial correspondent Ken Oathcarn and his Canuck counterpart, Fagin Heighbard. Dear viewers, consider this a fair warning that in terms of language and affront to the dominant culture this could get f***g messy.



And speaking of using humour to address the dismal situation we find ourselves in as a species (not to mention my crappy day), head over to HolyShitters.com, created by “John Crapper”, with a byline that says: If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit.  Hear, hear!

More links:

The Juice Media.com

Chief Spence Ends Her Hunger Strike, But The Struggle Continues

graphic: Occupy Canada
graphic: Occupy Canada


Chief Theresa Spence has ended her hunger strike today. Here is the press release issued by her and her supporters:

press release.Jan24.2013.Chief Spence*

Daniel Wilson reflects on the legacy of Chief Spence’s hunger strike today on Rabble.ca:

We can help give success a chance, as Chief Spence and Elder Robinson are now doing by allowing the conversation to move on.

We can refuse to criticize the tactics of those who share our goals and, in so doing, keep the focus on the broader struggle. 

We can refuse to help tear apart what we are only starting to build.

We can mark the end of the hunger strikes as a celebration of the commitment and sacrifice of those involved, and a reaffirmation that the struggle will continue. 

We can stand in unity, for all our relations.  And we will learn what that means.




what is it all about

More links:

Assembly of First Nations: Declaration Of Commitment, January 23, 2013

Miigwetch Chief Spence

Canada Exposed: The Legacy of A Hunger Strike

Eight Ways To Be Idle No More