Article by Brenda Norrell
LOLO PASS, Idaho -- On the Longest Walk 3 northern route, walker Lisa Peake, Ojibwe/Pomo, offers a prayer for the earth and the people, when walkers arrive at the oversized equipment for Conoco Phillips tar sands refinery, which is snowbound on the pass.
Long walker Paul Owns the Sabre, Cheyenne River Lakota elder, pointed out that Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce led his people over Lolo Pass.
Down the route, Carol Marsh, 69, was among the protesters that temporarily blocked the megaloads on March 10, 2010, in Missoula, Montana. The enormous equipment was entroute to the ConocoPhillips tar sands oil refinery in Billings.
“These megaloads are serving refineries that process oil from the Alberta tar sands, the worst ecological disaster the planet has ever faced. The tar sands undermine any effort to stop global warming. I did this because I want there to be a world for my granddaughter to grow up in,” Marsh said.
Indigenous fighting tar sands trail of cancer and destruction
First Nations in Canada, and the Indigenous Environmental Network, have a global campaign underway to halt the tar sands environmental destruction. Indigenous environmental activists rallied to halt the tar sands oil industry, with actions in London and at the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.
Clayton Thomas-Muller, Mathais Colomb Cree Nation also known as Pukatawagan in Northern Manitoba, Canada, has led a campaign to halt the tar sands at IEN.
The tar sands mining is stripping crude oil from the Alberta tar sands and leaving behind toxic heavy metals and carcinogens that pollute nearby native lands.
Thomas-Muller told Yes! magazine, "The five First Nations in the region of the tar sands rely on traditional food sources, like moose, fish, beaver, and muskrat, all of which have become contaminated by mining pollution.
"We’re talking about a community of just 1,200 that’s seen more than 100 deaths in the last decade from rare cancers and autoimmune diseases. The tar sands leases also violate aboriginal treaty rights; they were sold by the provincial government without the prior informed consent of local communities."
Long Walkers: Certitude and perseverance
Peake, among the Native youths walking to raise awareness of diabetes, is on her second walk across America. Owns the Sabre was on the original 1978 Longest Walk, Longest Walk 2 in 2008 and other walks for Indian rights and the protection of Mother Earth.
On Thursday, March 31, 2011, the Long Walk 3 northern route is on Pine Ridge in South Dakota. The southern route is scheduled to arrive in Hammond, Oklahoma, walking from Amarillo, Texas.
Long Walk 3 Contacts: Northern Route Chris Francisco, (503) 515-6239 firstname.lastname@example.org and Goodie Cloud, National Coordinator, on southern route (218) 209-0232 email@example.com
Yes! magazine: Climate Hero Clayton Thomas-Muller
Read more about the environmental nightmare of mining the tar sands:
Montana Citizens Temporarily Block Tar Sands Refining Shipments
Video by Longest Walk 3 northern route.