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Tar Sands Tour

Bloody oil: the struggle against the Tar Sands

Indigenous people in Canada are fighting ‘the most destructive project on earth’ – the extraction of oil from Tar Sands. Hear their stories first hand and get involved in the new UK campaign to halt one of the world’s fastest growing causes of climate crisis.

Featuring, from the Indigenous Environmental Network in Canada:

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger,
a Dene woman belonging to the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation of Northern Alberta, is the Freedom from Oil Campaigner for the Rainforest Action Network.

Heather Milton-Lightening, from the Pasqua First Nation in Saskatchewan, has been organizing with the Native Youth Movement since 1995. She is now the Alberta based Tar sands Campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo is Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta. She has been working as an advocate for Indigenous rights for the past 9 years, and currently works for Greenpeace Canada

Tar Sands Speaker Tour Itinerary

13th November7-9pm Bristol Arnolfini, C words Festival,

14th3-5pm Bristol Arnolfini, Trapese Collective:Workshop on grassroots activist education and direct action,

14-15th – Rossport Solidarity Camp (Ireland)

16th 7-9pm Science Oxford, ‘Bloody oil’: Canada’s Tar Sands, indigenous rights
and climate change’

17th10am-12pm London: Parliamentary event

2.30pm – RBS action with People & Planet

7-9pm – Speaker meeting,  George Pub, 373 Commercial Road,
Stepney, London, E1 0LA

18th – 7pm, Climate Justice Now! speaker tour, School of Oriental and
African Studies, London,

19th – 7pm, Y Plas, Machynlleth, Wales, organised by Centre for Alternative Technology

21-22 Shared Planet conference, Manchester,

22nd – 6pm, speaker meeting and screening of H2Oil, Dancehouse Theatre, Oxford Road, Manchester, organised by Ethical Consumer,

We have created a facebook event for you to invite your friends and get the word out!

Facebook page


The Tar Sands are a vast reserve of oil in Alberta, Canada – the second largest in the world. As other sources of oil dry up, major oil companies, banks and investors are pouring billions of dollars into Tar Sands extraction.

‘We are seeing a terrifyingly high rate of cancer in Fort Chipewyan where I live. We are convinced that these cancers are linked to the Tar Sands development on our doorstep. It is shortening our lives. That’s why we no longer call it “dirty oil” but “bloody oil”.’ George Poitras, a former chief of Mikisew Cree First Nation

The world is sliding into climate crisis. Now attempts to avert it are being threatened by a single, massive project in the Canadian wilderness.

The tar sands development in Alberta, Canada, is being called ‘the biggest environmental crime in history’

  • Millions of barrels of oil a day are now being extracted from what is currently the largest industrial development in the world.
  • It covers an area the size of England, and the toxic tailings ponds are so huge they are visible from space.
  • Extracting oil from these sludgy deposits in the heart of Canada’s ancient forests produces three to five times as much greenhouse gas as conventional oil.
  • Indigenous communities, on whose land Tar Sands extraction has been imposed, are seeing high rates of rare forms of cancer and respiratory disease.
  • Tar Sands extraction is extremely resource intensive, using enough natural gas every day to heat 3.2 million Canadian homes for a year
  • The Canadian Government is blocking progress in international talks to curb greenhouse gas emissions because it wants to dramatically expand Tar Sands production over the coming decades.


While all this is happening in Canada, decisions are being driven from London’s financial Square Mile. Shell is heavily involved. BP is about to go into its first Tar Sands extraction project, ‘Sunrise’ – in partnership with the parent company of Superdrug. Both Shell and BP are financially backed by most major UK pension funds.

Meanwhile, London’s investment banks have helped finance a wide range of Tar Sands projects, with RBS, HSBC and Barclays being amongst the world’s fifteen biggest Tar Sands investors.


The new UK campaign to stop the Tar Sands is growing fast. Come along to an event near you to meet leading indigenous Tar Sands activists from Alberta, learn about what’s happening to their homeland, and get involved.


At some of the tour events we’ll be showing an ambitious documentary that interleaves a history of oil sands with arresting aerial images and an intimate narrative of how affected indigenous peoples are mounting resistance.
To extract a single barrel of oil from tar sands requires up to four barrels of fresh water: the film traces the Athabasca River to explore the implications of oil sands’ thirst, including a microcosm of global conflicts over water.
With animation by Oscar nominee James Braithwaite and an original score.


“UK based groups” in partnership with North American Based Indigenous Environmental Network.

The UK groups have formed a new UK Tar Sands Network, a grouping of organizations and activists who are all taking on different parts of the tour. They include: New Internationalist, People & Planet, Ethical Consumer and Platform.


Tar Sands in Focus:
People and Planet’s Ditch Dirty Development Campaign:
The Ethical Consumer’s Oil Sands Boycott:
The Co-Op Bank’s Toxic Fuels Campaign:
Art Not Oil:

North America

Indigenous Environmental Network’ s Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign:
Oil Sands Truth website:
Rainforest Action Network:
Greenpeace Canada:
Dirty Oil Sands:

9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2009 3:14 pm

    A couple of recent Oxford actions:

  2. Bobby Andrew permalink
    November 12, 2009 4:50 pm

    I am a Yup’ik Eskimo from Southwest Alaska (Bristol Bay) and hope we never see this method of oil extraction in the State of Alaska.

    Bristol Bay is the World Class Salmon producer in the world and the UK is one of the highest consumer of canned salmon from Bristol Bay.

    Alaska is ground zero for Climate Change and there needs to be protective measures to slow down the process and Tar Sands should NEVER be introduced in Alaska.

    Bobby Andrew
    Dillingham, Alaska 99576

  3. wambli maza nokota elder and treaty del. of 1851 Ft. Laramie permalink
    December 16, 2009 2:47 am

    We the Nakota Fire of the graet Sioux Nation Have never give up our treaty rigthts to that
    part of our hunting area to canada or any one else for that matter So keep up the stagle up
    north and we will be fighting on the south side as well ok good job and good luck

  4. wambli maza nokota elder and treaty del. of 1851 Ft. Laramie permalink
    December 16, 2009 3:01 am

    You are so right about the big banks and there involement in this inhumane project that will
    effect all the native peoples in the great plains area both in canada and the us this is an act6
    of war and a clear voilation of all treaties made with those goverments that call themselves
    civilized thats why they will not sign on the U.N. dec. on ind.rights.

  5. December 16, 2009 2:52 pm

    I posted all of this on my site in Great Montreal. Thank you for being so strong in your protests. The Lubicon Cree (Indigenous People) have been abused for more than 100 years by the Canadian and Alberta Governments. Your help will be essential in forcing recognition and Autonomy of this Indigenous First nation.

    Best wishes,

    Jim Brown (

  6. April 5, 2010 11:49 am

    Hi There we’ve created a short video that we’d like to share about the Alberta Tar Sands please feel free to use or embed this

    Kind regards

    Felix Gonzales


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