Healing Walk 2014 from Zack Embree on Vimeo.

Over the last 5 years, thousands of people have gathered with First Nations leadership to walk, pray and heal in the heart of the tar sands. This June the fifth and final Healing Walk brought hundreds of people to march along the side of Highway 63 in Northern Alberta, looping through the destruction wrought by tar sands development.

We marched along the shore of tailings ponds, past miles of industrial development and alongside boreal forest turned to desert. The air was thick with the acrid smell and taste tar sands extraction as trucks rolled past to developments further north, but in the midst of it was a resilient spirit. Drums throughout the march rung like a heartbeat of what has become one of the biggest fights to stop environmental injustice on our planet.

In the midst of the destruction was a gathering of people, each one with connections back to hundreds more joining in spirit, all committed to not just stopping tar sands expansion, but healing relationships, the land and starting to heal our planet.

This may have been the last Healing Walk, but it is just the beginning of a new phase in our movement.

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