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Ta'kaiya Blaney
TheWIFTS "IT" Award   
 

 
Ta'kaiya Blaney
Singer - Songwriter - Actress - Activist
 
12 year old Ta'Kaiya Blaney is Sliammon First Nation from B.C., Canada. Along with singing, songwriting, and acting, she is concerned about the environment, especially the preservation of marine and coastal wildlife. Over the past four years she has 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 governments and within our communities.

Her song Shallow Waters is a plaintive plea to end the oil industry pollution that is fouling the once pristine Northern Pacific. It focuses on the implications of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline from the tar sands in northern Alberta through the virgin Great Bear Rainforest to the British Columbia Coast. It vividly captures the impact of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, compelling listeners to consider the potential consequences of allowing supertankers into the Port of Kitimat and the dangerous waters beyond. The Shallow Waters video can be viewed on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkjIkuC_eWM). In the video, Ta'Kaiya is seen wearing traditional cedar bark regalia and seated in the prow of a traditional ocean-going canoe from the Squamish Nation, interspersed with scenes of her playing on the beach with an oil refinery in the background. Shallow Waters was a semi-finalist in the 2010 David Suzuki Songwriting Contest, Playlist for the Planet. Ta'Kaiya hopes to send the message through Shallow Waters that oil spills devastate and destroy marine life and coastal habitat.

Ta'Kaiya has also acted in several short films about Canada's First Nation people. Spelling Bee (2010) celebrates First Nation languages and has aired on the Knowledge Network. In it Ta'Kaiya plays Raven, a little girl who falls asleep and dreams she is in a spelling bee that requires its young contestants to spell words from more than 30 distinct First Nation languages.

A Trilogy of Residential School Films address the years when First Nation children were removed from their families and set away for proper English training, Shi-Shi-Etko (2009) is based on the award winning children's book of the same name by Nicola Cambell, and dramatizes the last four days before a little girl goes to residential school. This award-winning film is spoken in the Halq'emelem language of the Sto:lo Nation with English subtitles. Nootka Rose (2011) is a short film dramatizing a little girl's forcible removal from her home to attend residential school in the 1960's. Heart-torn scenes from her life are narrated in Native language. Ta'Kaiya plays Nootka Rose. Savage (2010) depicts the story of a young girl who is sent to residential school. In the format of a music video, the film transports the audience from the anguish of a mother loosing her child to the residential school to a strange but unusual twist at the end.

Ta'Kaiya has spoken at UN meetings 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. She advocates change not only in the human condition, but also in the condition of our planet. She says, "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…. 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."

For her passion to support Canada's First Nation people through the media of tv, radio and the Internet and for championing respect for and judicious use of Mother Earth's gifts, Ta'Kaiya Blaney has been selected to receive TheWIFTS "IT" Award 2013 from TheWIFTS Foundation.






 
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