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Canadian Boreal Forests


Indigenous women leaders speak during the during the Forward on Climate rally in Washington D.C

WECAN International became involved in protection of the Canadian Boreal Forests through collective work to stop the Tar Sands Keystone XL pipeline, with women leaders including Melina Laboucan-Massimo (Lubicon Cree), Crystal Lameman (Beaver Lake Cree), Eriel Deranger (Athabasca Chipewyan), Eleanor Fairchild (farmer from Texas defending her land against the Keystone XL), and Julia Trigg (Crawford Texas family farmer).

Initial advocacy work focused on increasing connections and mobilization efforts between the women on the front lines of tar sands extraction in Canada, and those located along the proposed Keystone XL pipeline across the U.S.

2013 Tar Sands Healing Walk in Alberta, Canada - Photo by Anna Gerrard

In 2013, WECAN International representatives participated in the Tar Sands Healing Walk in Alberta, Canada, and facilitated a 'Women of the Land Delegation' to Washington D.C., to participate in the 'Forward on Climate' rally. WECAN organized several parallel events for the women leaders including a meeting with the US EPA and other agencies regarding opposition to tar sands development and infrastructure. Due to advocacy work by many environmental groups, the EPA issued a strong critique of the U.S. State Department’s evaluation and defense of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The EPA’s report helped stall advancements of the Keystone decision – which was ultimately halted in November of 2015.

During the Trump administration there have been attempts to resurrect KXL, and WECAN International continues to collaborate with many groups in an effort to forever stop this pipeline.


Into the future, WECAN International will continue to support campaigns of First Nation’s Indigenous women leaders and frontline defenders protecting their territories, waters, and the climate from the fossil fuel extraction decimating Canada’s vital forests - with an intersectional analysis of issues of extraction, colonization, Indigenous rights, Earth Rights, the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women, and violence against women and the land.

WECAN ‘Women of the Land’ delegation meets with the U.S EPA in Washington D.C