Shallow Waters, Feb. 2011
Ta’Kaiya Blaney on her work
Hi, my name is Ta’Kaiya, I’m from the Sliammon First Nation and I am 12 years old. I feel that as humans, as participants and beings that walk upon this earth, it is our responsibility to help the earth. We all need to take steps towards a clean and healthy future regarding animals, humans, plants, and the various ecosystems. Our earth is our home. Over the past four years I’ve been an advocate for providing better qualities of living in Indigenous First Nations territories, and ending the oppression, racism, and corruption we face from our government and within our community.
I’ve spoke at UN meeting across the globe, including The TUNZA UN children and youth conference on the environment in Bandung Indonesia, and the Rio+20 UN conference on the environment In Rio de Janiero. I advocate to change not only the human condition, but also in the condition of our planet. In my culture it’s a fact, and an understanding of life, that everything is connected, and we were put on this earth to be stewards and caretakers of the environment. In my culture, it’s a teaching to do more than connect the dots, to see the picture as a whole. I feel that advocating, and speaking at mere conferences isn’t enough. Actions speak louder than words.
I’m inspired by the work you are doing, and the message of protection and change that you are broadcasting to the many generations. I would like to do the same.
Emot (Thank you)
Ta’Kaiya (“Special Water”)
Ta’Kaiya, 12, lives in North Vancouver and is from the Sliammon First Nation. “Shallow Waters,: recorded July 2010, is one of 5 songs co written by Ta’Kaiya and her singing instructor/professional songwriter/pianist Aileen De La Cruz. Ta’Kaiya is also known for singing “Amazing Grace” in the Sliammon language, translated by her grandfather. Ta’Kaiya began working with Aileen since the age of 5. She began singing at pow wows and cultural events in both BC and Washington State at the age of 6. Ta’Kaiya has also recorded the songs “Carried Away,” “Watching Over Me,” and “Wonderful, Beautiful” in June 2011, and “Ajoomish Gloklas” (Amazing Grace) in spring 2012.
Ta’Kaiya recorded her latest song, Earth Revolution in the studio in fall, 2011. The first time she sang it in public was at Occupy in Vancouver, BC in October 2011. Earth Revolution calls on the “Children of the Future,” which Ta’Kaiya has named “Generation Now” to act now to save the earth “I’ll do my part to fix what is broken, give back what we’ve taken…” before it is too late: “..because there won’t be a tomorrow, if we don’t change today.”
Ta’Kaiya has made 3 music videos: Shallow Waters (videoinvancouver.com), Carried Away and Wonderful, Beautiful (David Malkoff). An entire production team is producing a new video of “Earth Revolution,” including international children’s choirs, children canoeing in a traditional ocean-going canoe from the Squamish Nation, and Green Screen filmed at the Capilano College studios, directed by Amanda Tapping and a huge team of volunteers. It is planned for release in late March, 2013.
Ta’Kaiya has many videos posted on youtube that have been uploaded by participants from rallies she has attended. Our grateful thanks to you!!
Idle No More
Ta’Kaiya has been very vocal in the ”Idle No More” movement, and supported Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike to raise awareness for substandard living conditions on Indian Reserves throughout Canada.
View Ta’Kaiya’s youtube speeches at Idle No More rallies in Courtney (January 2013), City Hall, Vancouver (January 2013) and Prince Rupert (February 2013).
Ta’Kaiya’s Concern for the Earth
A homeschooled student entering Grade 6 this fall 2012, Ta’kaiya particularly enjoys studying about the oceans and marine life. When Ta’Kaiya was in Grade 3, she studied about otters and learned the greatest cause of death to otters was from oil spills. She then read about the Northern Gateway Pipeline and had the idea to write a song about a future where an oil spill happens. When Ta’Kaiya and Aileen began writing “Shallow Waters,” it was to raise awareness about the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline planned between the Alberta Tar Sands and Kitimat, BC. By the time the song was almost finished, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico suddenly happened.
The message from the song “Shallow Waters” is urgent because an oil spill in the northwest coast could tragically end the traditional way of life for many coastal First Nations. It would also devastate all marine and coastal life and habitat.
Ta’Kaiya and Aileen entered Ta’Kaiya’s song, “Shallow Waters: into the David Suzuki “Playlist for the Planet” contest where artists submitted environmental songs. David Suzuki was looking for an “environmental anthem.” “Shallow waters” was a semi-finalist for BC. A music video was then made of Shallow Waters. Since the video was released in February, 2011, it has been viewed 117,000 times on youtube. Ta’Kaiya began speaking at events, festivals and schools around BC starting in 2011.
On March 30, 2011, Ta’Kaiya tried to deliver her Shallow Waters Video and an Open Letter she wrote to protect the coast from Oil Spills to the Enbridge Headquarters in Vancouver. Security Guards denied her access and threatened her with trespassing. She was on the news and in the newspaper.
She was then invited by the Yinka Dene Alliance to attend the Enbridge Shareholders AGM in Calgary in May, 2011. She attended and spoke.
Ta’Kaiya began singing and speaking at rallies during the Spring 2011 at protests, Pow Wows, cultural celebrations and festivals, sometimes several per month. Some of these events are listed below:
Ta’Kaiya sang at a Redwire event in Vancouver Feb.2nd, 2011.
She spoke and sang at the Comox Earth Day festival, at the Canada Day celebration in Powell River, the Bella Bella school and Gathering Voices Environmental Film Festival in Bella Bella.
She spoke and sang at the Marine Protected Areas Congress in Victoria.
She sang and spoke at the Father’s Day Pow Wow, and at the Rhizome Cafe in Vancouver for Solidarity Night with the Dene Suline.
She spoke at a rally at the KinderMorgan Plant in Burnaby, BC where Tar Sands pipeline expansion will mean more oil tankers in Burrand Inlet in summer 2011.
Ta’Kaiya sang and spoke at the Na’Kadzli First Nation AGM in Ft. St. James in July, 2011.
She spoke at the Wild Salmon Warriors rally in support of saving wild salmon from the dangers of Fish Farms for Atlantic Salmon.
She spoke at the anniversary of “Save the Fraser Declaration” in Vancouver. The event was witnessed by several hundred participants, including chiefs and signatories.
International Events, 2011
Ta’Kaiya traveled to Bandung, Indonesia during the fall 2011 to the Tunza, Children and Youth on the Road to Rio + 20 conference. It was sponsored by UNEP; United Nations Environmental Program. She gave 3 workshops for 10-14 year olds and sang her song “Earth Revolution” at the closing ceremonies.
Ta’Kaiya appeared on a seven minute segment of CBC’s “The National” in Dec. 2011. She appeared twice on APTN news. She appeared in an article in the Globe and Mail about the anniversary of the signing of the Save the Fraser Declaration.
Presentations at Youth Conferences 2012
In March, 2012, Ta’Kaiya traveled to, sang and spoke in Moose Factory, James Bay for a Youth Engagement Conference sponsored by the Chiefs of Ontario. She got to ride on a snowmobile and see the northern lights and drive on the ice road. She loved it!
In March 2012 also, she sang and spoke to an audience of 2000 youth at a Youth Conference sponsored by the Aboriginal Friendship Centers in Naniamo, BC.
Then in August, 2012, she traveled to the Nad’leh First Nation to sing and speak at a Youth Conference. She got to see the beautiful country up north, and to see the area where the Northern Gateway Pipeline is proposing to go through. She got to see so many friends from all the rallies she has gone to!
Rallies and Environmental Events, 2012
Ta’Kaiya traveled to a rally in Prince Rupert Feb. 4th, 2012. She was presented with a beautiful hand carved and painted paddle by the Coastal First Nations.
School Presentations and Assemblies, 2012
She spoke and sang at the Prince Rupert Elementary School in Prince Rupert, BC and visited classrooms there in Feb. 2012. She spoke and sang at a Montessory School in West Vancouver in Dec. 2012.
Next, Ta’Kaiya participated on a Cross Country Train tour from “We Canada”. She traveled to Ontario schools, giving presentations about saving the coast from oil spills. In March, 2012, she spoke and sang at 6 elementary schools including the Quintee Mohawk School at Tyondenaga, Ontario and Antelope River Elementary at Chippewa-on-the-Thames, Ontario. She also spoke and sang at the Friendship Center in Kingston, Ontario and a Pow Wow in London, Ontario at the end of February, 2012.
The last school Ta’Kaiya presented to was in Dec. 2012, she spoke and sang at a Montessori School in West Vancouver, BC.
Ta’Kaiya and her mom headed east again aboard the Yinka Dene “Freedom Train.” The train stopped at several cities before reaching the final destination in Toronto where they marched to the Enbridge AGM. At each train stop, Ta’Kaiya spoke and sang at the rallys, along with many chiefs, leaders and participants.
After traveling to a Youth Conference and speaking and singing in James Bay, she returned to Vancouver for an protest to commemorate the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.
She then spoke and sang at a large Youth Conference in Naniamo sponsored by the Friendship Centers. Next, she spoke and sang at the Whale Festival on Vancouver Island in Tofino. It was beautiful and she got to see her first whale up close. She swan in the waves with her friend and fellow musician, 12 year old Kalilah Rampagnon.
Ta’Kaiya sang and spoke at a fundraiser dinner with David Suzuki to help the Gitgat Nation fight the pipeline: “Cooking for a Cause” in May.
Ta’Kaiya, together with her Mom and Dad, flew to Toronto so Ta’Kaiya could speak at the Ideacity Conference. Ta’Kaiya opened up the conference.
International Events, 2012
Rio De Janiero, Brazil
Ta’Kaiya, together with her Dad and Mom family flew to Rio De Janeiro to attend the Earth Summit 2012. Ta’Kaiya attended as a delegate for the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). Ta’Kaiya spoke at the UN for the United Religions Initiative, an international organization she received UN accreditation from. She spoke at a Women’s Panel and several Civil Societies events. She also participated in the Peoples’ March along with 15,000 other people. She met many Indigenous leaders from the Amazon, and learned about the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights. She spoke about protecting indigenous lands against unsustainable development, the dangers of oil spills, and changing our lifestyle to one that protects the earth, not destroys it.
Sweden and Iceland
Ta’Kaiya traveled with her family to Sweden in October, 2012 for a Youth Choir Festival in Orebro, Sweden. See the video on Youtube! She had a wonderful visit. She and her family stopped off at Iceland on their way. Ta’Kaiya got to see Iceland’s geothermal plants, where geothermal energy powers over 80% of Iceland’s industry and homes!
Events in BC, 2012
After traveling , speaking and singing at the Earth Summit, 2012, Ta’Kaiya returned to Vancouver and attended the Peace Walk in Vancouver in June, 2012.
Ta’Kaiya sang “Blue Green Water,” a song written for her to perform by Tobin Stokes, Director of the International Choir Festival in July 2012 in Powell River, BC “Kathalmaux.”
Ta’Kaiya and her mom were invited to the King Pacific Lodge on Princess Royal Island near Bella Bella, BC. Ta’Kaiya got to see, first hand, the proposed path oil tankers would take to reach Kitimat. She was shown where the ferry, Queen of the North, sank, as it could be seen from the community of Hartley Bay where she visited.
Ta’Kaiya was so amazed to see a spirit bear, a humpback whale breech 5 times, visit a whale research station, walk on pristine white sandy beaches, and see huge eagles swoop down and catch fish right in front of her.
She sang and spoke at the ‘Tar Sands Ball” in Duncan, and at a Town Hall meeting in Burnaby and in West Vancouver, BC.
Ta’Kaiya sang and spoke in the Mountain Film Festival in North Vancouver BC in November, 2012.
She appeared on the Panel, “Bring Your Boomers” sponsored by GenY media. She posed the question, “Can you compromise when it comes to the Environment?” She does not believe you should!
Ta’Kaiya spoke and sang at the Salmon Festival at the Musquem Senior’s Center in Richmond, BC In December 2012.
Musical Projects, 2012
Musical projects Ta’Kaiya is involved with include the animated “Pacha’s Pajamas,” a children’s environmental Hip Hop CD and audiobook. Ta’Kaiya, in the role of Pacha, portrays a little girl with big dreams of saving the earth and its animals.
Web and TV, 2012
Ta’Kaiya also begun filming for a web/TV series called “Down2Earth Kids.” and will appear fall 2012 in episodes for televised programs (Tiga Talks and U=Us) on APTN and another TV series “Green Kids.” She also will appear on an episode for Ontario TV called “Green Heroes.”
Ta’Kaiya was presented with the Christopher Benchley Youth Award, (Hero of the Seas, Peter Benchley Award Series) and the Youth Ambassador for the Planet from the Wyland Foundation in San Fransico, 2012.
Ta’Kaiya has appeared in numerous newspaper and internet newspaper articles, and numerous televised rallies. Recently, she was pictured on the June cover of the magazine “Common Ground.”
Ta’Kaiya appeared in The Vancouver Sun in an article entitled “The Kid and the Premiere,” in July, 2012. She appeared on the National in a 7 minute segment in Nov. 2011. She did a live news interview when she was in Toronto for the Freedom Train, and has been on the news many times, including in on Brazilian National News!
Ta’Kaiya spoke and sang at Town Hall Meetings in Burnaby and WestVancouver, opposing the Kindermorgan Expansion pipelines from the Tar Sands into Burrard Inlet right here in North Vancouver. Her speeches were both reported in the Province.
Ta’Kaiya was interviewed by an Indigenous Radio Station in New York City at 6:45 am January 31st, on her 12th Birthday! That evening, she was interviewed by APTN evening news about her work opposing the Kindermorgan Tar Sands Oil Pipeline Expansion into North Vancouver. She was also on breakfast television about this event.
She is scheduled to appear on Terrace television’s program, “The Journey.” She was also interviewed by a local radio station in Prince Rupert.
Environmental Events, 2013
Ta’Kaiya spoke and sang at an event sponsored by Forest Ethics around stopping oil pipelines on Jan. 31st.
Ta’Kaiya spoke and sang at the Idle No More protest rally in Courtney, (Jan), Vancouver City Hall (Jan) Prince Rupert (Feb)
School Presentations and Assemblies 2013
Ta’Kaiya spoke and sang at an Elementary Assembly for a “Mini We Day” at the Dorothy Linus School in North Vancouver. While in Prince Rupert for the Idle No More Rally on Feb. 11, Ta’Kaiya presented to a Grade 4/5 class and a combined presentation to a Grade 2/3 and 4/5 class.
Ta’Kaiya also has played the lead role in several short films. She received two Leo Award Nominations (2009 and 2010) for Best Female Performance in a Short Drama for the films “Shi Shi Etko” and “Savage.” In both films, she portrayed a little girl who went to residential school.
Shallow Waters Music Vide, Ta’Kaiya Blaney & Aileen De La Cruz.
10 year old Ta’Kaiya Blaney is from the Sliammon Nation in British Columbia, Canada. The Shallow Waters song was ranked top 5 in BC for the 2010 David Suzuki Songwriting Contest, “Playlist for the Planet” and was produced (audio) by Joe Cruz.
The video was filmed and edited in Vancouver, B.C. by Colter Ripley of videoinvancouver.com. Additional footage provided by Tina House. Her footage included scenes of a Squamish Nation traditional Ocean-Going Canoe; scenes from Tofino., B.C. and from he Vancouver Aquarium. Thank you to the Burrard Nation for allowing us to film and paddle in your territory. Thank you to the Squamish Nation for your support for Ta’Kaiya and the environment! Ocean-going Canoe paddlers on the Burrard Inlet included Larry Nahanee,Danielle Morrisette and son Kaleo Nahanee, Janice Wardrop,Bryan Joe, Vanessa Mountain, Jerry Nahanee, Donna Moody, Frank Nahanee and Alroy Baker. Additional footage was provided by Canada Greenpeace, and The Living Oceans Society.
Carried Away on Eagles’ Wings
Ta’Kaiya Blaney wrote the song and melody and her Kookpa Robert Blaney translated the Sliammon words and Aileen Del la Cruz put to music. This song is to bring attention to the profound beauty of culture and nature contrasted by harmful impacts of industry and development…that nations, people, governments, and corporations have on Mother Earth. We give profound thanks to Pacific Wild for their generous contribution to making the recording possible. NO TANKERS, NO PIPELINES, NO TARSANDS, NO TREATY!
Tribal Journeys, BC-Washington State
Ta’Kaiya sang with the Sliammon Nation during the Tribal Journeys 2009 (Suquamish Nation) and 2010 (Makah Nation) in Neah Bay, Washington. The Swinomish Nation allowed her to sing on her own this year (2011) at Tribal Journeys since she was up in Ft. St. James singing during the Sliammon protocol !
SHI-SHI-EtKO, 2008 dir: Kate Kroll, Monkey Ink Media. , Best Female Performance in a Short Drama, 2009.
NOOTKA ROSE 2011 dir. Courtney Crane, Vancouver Film School
SAVAGE, 2009 dir: Lisa Jackson, Clique Pictures. Leo Award Nomination, Best Female Performance in a Short Drama, 2010
SPELLING BEE, 2010 dir: Sharon Bliss, Bliss Pictures, Knowledge Network:
THE CLOSER YOU GET TO CANADA, 2010 dir: John Bolton, Opus 59 Films