11 year-old singer and activist Ta'Kaiya Blaney of the Sliammon First Nation was among the youth taking action today at the Rio+20 Summit. Listen and watch as Ta'Kaiya 'mic checks' to deliver a powerful message to world leaders.
Why couldn't they get the kid a mic or a megaphone? Is this nonsense considered an effective way of communication in the 21st century?
A transcript would have been much easier to take.
And why, oh why, does Rabble have to imitate the MSM by patronizing young people in this way? If anyone over 18 had made the same speech it would never have made the news, because its content is quite unremarkable, as far as environmental protest speeches go. It's as if everyone is absolutely gobsmacked that an 11-year-old can actually think and talk and memorize a 2-minute speech (actually, less than a minute, without the stupid and annoying "mic checks" routine), and the news story becomes - not the message, - but the delivery of it.
It's all part of the dumbing-down of news and the elevation of form over content that characterizes the mass media. We're supposed to react by saying "Isn't she cute/remarkable/articulate?" rather than "Yeah, she's absolutely right". Give her a lollipop and a pat on the head and don't bother thinking about what she actually had to say!
This is no different from the MSM soundbites (with video, natch) of Pamela Anderson about banning the whale hunt. The story is not the message, but the person delivering it.
Where's Rabble's video of Cameron Fenton's speech at RIO+20? I guess he's not cute, or young, or aboriginal enough to deserve our liberal patronizing.
Obviously, M. Spector, you have not had the pleasure of hearing Takaiya sing or of hearing her speak -- extemporaneously, too, not just memorized -- in person, because then you'd know that rabble featuring this video has nothing to do with patronizing and everything to do with showcasing a powerful (and serious) young voice. And yes, it is newsworthy and remarkable that she's only 11.
By the way, in my humble opinion, Cameron is pretty cute (and not old) - so, hey, we may just feature this video as well. Thanks for the link!
Just wanted to give a couple of quick comments back to M.Spector to help clarify a couple of things. First of all, I was at this event so I am speaking from a slightly different perspective than you might have but, to answer your questions: "they" couldn't get "the kid" a mic because this was not a sanctioned event. We took over and occupied the centre courtyard of the rio plus 20 conference and we all said what was on our minds at that moment. None of Ta'Kaiya's speech was scripted - we all just stood up, one after another and spoke to how we felt about the process, what was happening there and how we were going to take it back. Many people stood up and spoke from Amazonian elders to Asian youth to average white guys such as Bill McGibbon who were all there in solidarity. Ta'Kaiya is a very thoughtful, well-spoken young woman. She is not there because she is "cute" or "young" or "aboriginal" although she is all of those things. She is there of her own volition speaking her mind and if you are intelligent enough you can now google her and see her longer speeches and witness someone that has courage and conviction. She works with a number of groups trying to get the Main Stream through sometimes yes, the MSM to pay attention. We already have lots of us playing to the choir. If this young women is able to break through that hard shell of denial and apathy that permeates most of society then who are you to criticize her or anyone that is publicizing what she is saying. If we are really to stop the massive ecocide that is occurring we need to get on the same page and realize that Ta'Kaiya is important and so is Cameron Fenton - there is room for all - you are furthering their siloing by bitching about Ta'Kaiya and whether she is a worthy advocate. Of course she is. And so are you.
And while she was wowing them in Rio, back at home, at almost the same time, Sliammon protesters were blockading the ratification vote for the BC 'trick or treaty' - the patently fraudulent 'extinguishment by consent' and corporatization of sovereign Tla'ammin territory.
The BC Treaty Process was described succinctly by Haida elder Lavina White as 'legitimizing the theft of our land'.
I raise this issue because surprisingly to me Ta'kaiya didn't raise it herself - and it would seem to be an obvious link to make between the ecocide and alienation of Indigenous lands underway in Canada, her eloquent remarks and the delegation she was part of at Rio.
Some of the Sliammon Band Council elite have of course benefited financially from the years of 'negotiations' and are pushing for BC's trick-or-treaty to be accepted. Attempts to purchase people's votes and the 'enrolling' of people with no blood ties to the Sliammon people are reported. Because this elite control the funds and resources, the environmental movement has largely chosen to restrict their relations to this part of Indigenous society and largely adhere to their political agenda which tends to be 'pro-treaty'.
I am assuming, given her words in Rio, that she meant what she said, and that the omission of her people's resistance to the ecocide and usurpation-as-genocide occurring, under the auspices of the crooked BC Treaty Commmission will be remedied the next time she has a chance to speak again.
for more information on the Tla'amin treaty protest please see:
and you can enjoy more of Ta'Kaiya at
To NDPP, Ta'Kaiya is well aware of what is going on in Sliammon with the trick or treaty. As a matter of fact her grandparents are sitting at the blockade...or were before the police bouncers forced them out. Ta'Kaiya's grandparents are among the last true elders from the Sliammon nation and they have stood up to the tyranny imposed by the government through the elected chief and counsel system. Ta'Kaiya would have spoken about what is happening to her own land and people...but, considering what is going on in the world that would have been selfish would it not? Ta"Kaiya is against the distruction of the planet and she thinks as humans it is all of our responsiblity to do our part. Sliammon is being attacked by the government and corporations not to mention the mayor of Powell River who wants to control not only Powell 'River but Sliammon too.
I do think it very shortsighted to critize an 11 year old for not being political enough about what is going on on her own reservation when the Amazon is at risk of being dammed and entire Indigenous people's lives destroyed, entire species threatened, entire biomes wiped out. This little girl knows that the problems her people have back home are major to her and she cries to know that her elected leaders and appointed negotiators are selling her rights and title down the river and bowing to the corporations....she does not need a lecture on who she is and what she should say or do. We have been fighting the treaty since 1995 and only recently people have been gaining their voice. For almost 20 years the voices have been silenced by threats and coersion. We also realize that the certainty that the corporations get in terms of an extinguishment signed agreement will open the doors to much more development...we know all that...and do you know why the government wants Sliammon to sign an agreement? Does it have anything to do with the charter of rights, Indian Act, 1867 constitution, or 1763 Royal Proclamation? Give me a good answer to this and I will know you are sincere.
Ta'Kaiya's words come from her heart and she is compelled to speak what is there...ther is no script or reminder at time...not that other polished and experienced politicians don't use the scripts to read by when they give their speeches...When someone using cue cards to speak they are called well prepared. Anyway, thanks for watching her speech. The more people who see it and pass it along the better. All our Relations.
p.s. excuse the typos
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