Ta'Kaiya Blaney has been an environmental activist since she was 8
years old. Her singing, songwriting, and acting reflect her concern for
the future of the planet, especially the preservation of marine
and coastal wildlife.
Ta'Kaiya also advocates internationally for Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Her song
“Shallow Waters”was a semifinalist in the
2010 David Suzuki Songwriting Contest.
Ta'Kaiya Blaney -- Her Own Words:
"When I was eight years old I saw an article in the newspaper about
the Northern Gateway Pipeline, which is a pipeline from Bruderheim,
Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia. It crosses over 45 different First Nations territories, putting at risk 45
cultures, 45 different languages. Yes, 45 different languages and these
diverse cultures are
being put at risk because of money, because of
"But even before that I was very involved in the environment—not in
activism, but in taking walks and listening to the birds and sitting
down and just absorbing the beauty of life and nature.
"Sliammon was very lush and very beautiful in the parts where it
wasn’t destroyed, but at the same time I was noticing the parts that
were destroyed. Our old village was called Tishosum, meaning Place of
the Spawning Herring. We were forced out of our own territory and there
are no more herring there anymore; I was aware of that even at a very
young age. That doubt and that worry—could this be the future of
Sliammon? All of it just came flooding back when I saw that article, and
from there I just decided to write a song.
"I’m a singer/songwriter and I decided to write a song about a future
where this oil spill from the Northern Gateway Pipeline and from the
supertankers…reminding people that this oil spill is very possible. A
lot of people in British Columbia can’t imagine BC without that
beautiful, lush quality because it’s so in front of you, it’s so real;
it’s such a big part of our lives. But you know it is a possibility if
this does happen. So from the age of eight I’ve been involved in
opposing this project. I wrote a song called “Shallow Waters,” and from
there I came here.
Sliammon Nation, a Nationless People
"In Canada we have a proclamation called the
World Proclamation of
1763. It states that we are entitled to jurisdiction over our land and
over any corporation that wants to be doing anything that would possibly
pollute our land. We have that right unless a treaty has been signed.
That is why most of BC is unseated UNCDB territory, meaning that there
have been no treaties signed over that land.
"But my nation, the Sliammon
Nation, has recently been going through the treaty process of selling
our land to the government. We’re not only signing our lands, we’re
signing away our Indigenous rights. There has already been a provincial
signing, and the federal signing is coming up. With the provincial
signing, we are a nationless people. The Sliammon Nation is not a nation
"All of this really concerns me. It makes me think, what will be
given to my generation by the time that the children who are not born
yet are my age? What will be left for them? What will be given back
instead of taken from Mother Earth? That’s the question for the Sliammon
"My ultimate goal is stopping the
Sliammon Treaty, and the first step
that I’m making is bringing awareness—because there is no knowledge
about the corruption and the fraud that has been happening in our
community outside of the borders of our territory. I’m very involved in
the opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline, and there is quite a
lot of media covering this—but there is not a lot of media covering the
injustices happening within Sliammon. I really want to bring a spotlight
to the corruption and to the Sliammon Nation.Youth Taking the Reins
"It’s so important for youth to be involved in this movement because
it’s our own future that corporations, that the government, are putting
at risk. They’re putting at risk our water, the land, and the future of
"I went to
Tunza, a UN youth conference on the
environment, and it was there that I saw so many children from all over
the world that were involved in social justice issues and environmental
To see hundreds of kids there, it was amazing. Someone came up
to me and said, “Oh, kids, they’re not going to do anything,” and I
said, “Hey, I’m a kid, and you’re wrong!” We really are doing something.
We’re finding our voice, now more than ever.
"I’m working to change my community, to create a sustainable future. I
always had that dream, but it was along the lines of “when I grow up...”
like it was a very distant thing. But when I saw that article in the
newspaper about the pipeline, I just realized, age doesn’t matter. It’s
one heart, it’s one dream, it’s the one future that we’re all living
"You know, you have adults, you have elders, and you have
chiefs, and very inspiring people who are leading this movement, but
they get tired speaking everywhere. If you incorporate youth and
children in spreading the message, it’s more than chasing the dream of a
sustainable future that coexists in harmony with Indigenous people and
their culture and Mother Earth.
On Starting a Revolution
"When they say it takes a community to raise a child, it also takes an
environment to raise a child. A majority of today’s youth are not being
exposed to the environment, so basically there is a generation that’s
being raised that’s disconnected from the environment. Once you’re
disconnected, you lose a sense of caring. How are you supposed to care
for something that is so alien, that you do not know?
"I’m starting an
organization called Earth Revolution, which is a youth movement named
after my song [Earth Revolution]. It’s focused on empowering and inspiring youth and
supporting them in their chase for their future. The chorus of the song
“We’re Generation Now, Children of the future, Earth’s Revolution
Creation’s crying out, I feel her pain, I can’t walk away
I’ll do my
part to fix what’s broken, and give back what we’ve taken, to hope for
the dawn of a new day
I’m calling each and every person, join me in
"So the movement is really about my generation, this
generation, and empowering and inspiring and supporting youth.
"The creator gave human beings a voice; there’s a reason that we have
the power to communicate. It’s because we’re supposed to speak out for
those who have no voice. To speak out for those voices who go unheard.
"So use that voice—as long
as you have that voice, you have to use it. Everyone has been given a
gift. Share it. That’s what I tell people, and it is what people need to do.
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