The organizers of the Healing Walk have shared some GREAT information on all the logistics around participating in this journey. Please go to www.healingwalk.org/logistics.html to learn more.
Who to bring
This is a great opportunity to connect with other amazing people working in the shared struggle to end extreme energy extraction.
If you are working with a fenceline community stopping local pollution, adding your voice to prevent climate change and end fossil fuels addiction; this walk is for you.
We need to shape the stories being told; ones of unlikely allies working across this movement, sharing the collective struggles and our commitment to the work being done to protect communities across North America. (and our planet!)
Please reach out to people you know working in various parts of this work; people facing pollution from petcoke disposal, Native American people working against infringement of their tribal lands and cultural ways of life, landowners and those on the frontlines of pipelines, families in Appalachia pushing back against mountaintop removal, people working in refinery communities, people fighting fracking on their land.
It’s a long list and every fight against extreme energy and it’s associated wake of harm needs to be seen as a source of power and a story of overcoming oppression!
What to bring
a. BUG SPRAY!
b. Rough clothing. Don’t dress ostentatiously, leave REI, L.L. Bean behind. This was once a special place that is now dirty and smells bad, dress for that.
c. Leave your banner behind. If you do bring one, don’t unpack it unless it is appropriate.
d. Bringing your own food and water on the Walk is smart. There will be common food to share, but please take care of yourself and your walking neighbors. The days are long.
e. Have a day pack with first aid items, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, spare batteries, paper, pens, snacks to share.
(again, there is a comprehensive list at healingwalk.org)
How to get there:
We aren’t going to lie to you -getting to the Healing Walk is not easy! It is far away from most of us and, getting there is expensive. For many, the easiest way will be to fly.
We are currently researching the feasibility of having a few caravans as an incredible way to build relationships and learn together as you travel, with the added bonus of lessening your carbon footprint. (more details soon!)
If you are traveling from the U.S. West Coast to Ft McMurray, please know:
a. The route north on Hwy 63 is one of the most hazardous in the hemisphere, “drivers are either exhausted, drunk, or methed out”, ready to veer into your lane.
b. Flying on Air Canada from Vancouver, BC. Air Canada is cheaper than U.S. domestic flights, such as United and flies more frequently.
First Nation Solidarity
Participating in this journey calls each of us to stand in solidarity with First Nations and Metis in Canada. We must respect their unique needs and how our participation can help strengthen their movement, not ours.
It’s important that we actively seek out opportunities to listen to and learn from various members within their communities; their elders, women, hunters, and youth all have unique and important perspectives to share.
To help support this vital piece, we are setting up a few phone conferences (webinars) with First Nation organizers so we can do our homework before arriving in Fort McMurray.
Outreach / Media
It is our hope (goal) that those of us who want to join in the Healing Walk will share a united vision of raising our collective voice and sharing the story of those making this journey.
Each of you should hold the intention to amplify our shared struggles by creating your own unique media and outreach plan. You probably have great ideas already on how to do this in your community, but here are a few suggestions that you might consider:
- reach out to your local papers. Get them to cover the “why you are going” and the “how it affected you” stories.
- send images and stories back to your group to add to your website and facebook
- share stories to our central facebook page so people can learn about all the great work done together
- set up a teaching/sharing meeting for folks in your community when you get back
We’ll reach out to you so we can learn from each other about how best to do this critical piece
This page is intended to help you raise money for someone you’re supporting to attend the Healing Walk or for yourself, if you need financial support.
It’s also here to remind us that we can also fundraise to hep support the legal battles of the First Nations fighting Big Oil in Alberta. As you fundraise, please consider raising $100 more than you need to donate to their struggle. (we’ll let you know the best place to send that money to soon!)
With the shared goal of bringing folks from frontline communities throughout the U.S. and Canada, we recognize lots of those people are busy working and fighting in their communities, they may not have extra cash to be jumping on planes and heading places far away.
Consider some of the following ways to help get folks to the Healing Walk:
- Set up a crowdfunding site like Indiegogo or
- Organize a Climb-A-Thons(Climb for the Climate) @ Rock-Climbing Gyms, Hike-A-Thons, etc. This can be a media event in itself!
- Design Personal Pledges to walk/ bike/ bus X amount of miles..
- Fund-raising meals, films, musical events, spelling bees, pie auction
- Find a local or national sponsor. This would be a fun way to increase your outreach as well. You could make a commitment to come back and share your story with their employees and in their newsletter.
We’ll be holding a training call during the week of May 19th to share some tips and ideas around fundraising
Please contact Sarah Lachance for more ideas and support around fundraising. y.
Respecting the sacredness of the event:
1. Simple, respect is the most important element of this journey.
2. Before, during, and after the Walk, the group will pause for prayers from tribal elders. Make sure to keep an eye out for these moments and show respect with your silence and attention. There may be a tobacco offering and a sage burning.
3. Do not be the first person to join in. Look for nods of welcome.
4. Holding back from participating is more easily seen as respectful than assuming it’s your place to engage in tribal/cultural/religious traditions to which you’re not already connected. However, if you receive a wave or a nod or are passed something, feel fortunate and accept it thoughtfully and modestly.
5. A designated rotation of elders and youth leaders, recognizable by carrying a traditional staff, will lead the Walk. It is polite to walk behind them. It’s fine to run ahead for a quick photo, but be careful not to be accidentally caught at the lead. Do not block assigned photographers.
6. Take only a few photos during the Walk.
7. The best way to get to know people is through talking together at appropriate times during the Walk.
8. Volunteers who want to help with set up and clean up might be welcome. Inquire in advance with organizers if they still have any slots open. Be sensitive to the notion that the day of the event may not be an ideal time to interject an interest in high value volunteer roles. That said, helping pick up chairs or other obviously simple tasks might be an unobtrusive way of pitching in.
Where to stay, and a bit more about Fort McMurray:
a. Organizers have secured camping at Indian Beach near the community of Anzac, just south of Fort McMurray. You need to bring your own camping gear, food, and water.
b. Motels are usually readily available and cheap($60/night). Not many opportunities for on-line reservations.
c. Come a day or two early, rent a car, film and photograph the Tar Sands project. According to recent visitors, there were not extreme security restrictions and one can get fairly close to photograph. .
d. Nothing is fancy at the Fort, except some facilities that Big Oil $ has developed.
e. Between the airport and Ft Mac is a tourist center/museum, Oil Sands Discovery Center. Visit to get a taste of the industry’s public message.