Ta’Kaiya Blaney

A powerful voice for change

by Stephanie Goodwin

• In my work for Greenpeace, I meet special people pretty regularly. And by special I mean people who do the most unexpected things in the most wonderful ways.

Ta’Kaiya Blaney Voice for Change
Ta’Kaiya Blaney in Rio for the Earth Summit. Photo by Zack Embree.

In my work for Greenpeace, I meet special people pretty regularly. And by special I mean people who do the most unexpected things in the most wonderful ways.

Meet Ta’Kaiya. She’s a 10-year old girl from North Vancouver who, while learning about sea otters in her home-school, became concerned about the devastation oil tankers would cause to BC’s coast.

When she learned about Enbridge’s proposal to build an oil pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands to the Great Bear Rainforest, bringing more than 200 oil tankers per year to this pristine coast, she got really worried. So she wrote a song about her concerns. And it’s good, really good.

Ta’Kaiya and her mom, Anne, went to Enbridge’s office in Vancouver to hand deliver a copy of her music video and a letter that asks them to stop their plans. When she arrived, security guards stopped her from going to Enbridge’s office on the sixth floor and even entering the building, period. They also refused to send someone down to the street to accept her letter. Apparently, Enbridge, who has touted their willingness to listen and work with First Nations, is afraid of a 10-year-old First Nations girl. She is pretty powerful but, come on, really? I suppose that is what happens when you speak truth to power; it scares them.

Ta’Kaiya knows that oil spills are inevitable with oil pipelines and oil tankers. She recorded the song to make a difference for the environment and the cultures that depend on the coast for their livelihood.

If an election isn’t triggered already, which seems a certainty, our MPs will be debating Bill C-606 in the House of Commons shortly that would legally ban crude oil tankers from BC’s Great Bear Rainforest.

So Ta’Kaiya wrote an open letter to Canada’s Members of Parliament (MPs) and sent it to each of them today [March 24, 2011], on the anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, that urges them to vote in favour of the bill.

I’m sure you’ll agree that, with kids like her, our future looks bright. Follow Ta’Kaiya’s lead and send your own letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging his government to represent our voices and those of the future that say loud and clear “Protect the Great Bear Rainforest coast!”

Posted at greenpeace.org, March 24, 2011. Stephanie Goodwin is Greenpeace’s BC Director and works from Vancouver.


Open Letter to Canadian Members of Parliament

My name is Ta’Kaiya Blaney. I am 10-years-old. I live in North Vancouver and am from the Sliammon Nation. My name means “special water.”

I am writing to you because the Enbridge Corporation is planning to build a pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to Kitimat, BC. I thought it would be very risky for our coast so I wrote a song, called Shallow Waters about an oil spill happening in the shallow waters.

You will be debating Bill C-606 soon, if an election is not triggered, which would ban oil tankers from our northwest coast. I am sharing my song’s music video and a personal message to encourage you to vote in favour of the bill.

Today is the anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. Even today, 22 years later, oil still remains a few inches under the surface of the water.

With this song, I hope to encourage government officials, people of British Columbia, and people across the world will realize the dangers of oil pollution, replace jobs that destroy the environment with jobs that help the environment. I ask government and corporate officials such as yourselves to change your plans and stop oil tanker traffic on BC’s coast and in waters around the world.

Please feel free to share my letter and video with others.

All my relations,
Ta’Kaiya Blaney

Shallow Waters was a semi-finalist in the 2010 David Suzuki Songwriting Contest, Playlist for the Planet

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