Kayaking for Beginners starring Ta’Kaiya Blaney

Adventure film celebrates the wild west coast of Canada and gives voice to communities living in the shadow of encroaching industry.


Kayaking for Beginners invites viewers on an epic journey through the spectacular landscapes of The Great Bear Rainforest, as 14-Year-old Ella searches for the courage to speak for her people and the connection to the land they are defending.

Ta’ Kaiya Blaney as “Ella”

BC, October 12, 2016 – Principal photography is underway on Kayaking for Beginners, a family adventure film directed by Sundance alumna and award-winning Zoe Hopkins (Mohawk Midnight RunnersOne-eyed Dogs are Free, and Tsi tkahehtayen) who grew up in The Great Bear Rainforest, and produced by Daniel Bekerman (The VVitch, Bang Bang Baby) of Scythia Films and Sheryl Kotzer. Executive Producers are Academy Award nominated Alex Ordanis, Christopher Yurkovich, and Ethan Lazar. 

Kayaking for Beginners is a work of fiction set amongst real-world, hot button issues; not only is this a family drama about a girl’s quest for courage, it’s also an appeal through storytelling for Canadians and the world to rally around the protection of the environment and all creatures existing within it.

The film stars the phenomenon Ta’ Kaiya Blaney (Savage, Spelling Bee, though she is also known for addressing parliament and the UNas Ella, a young girl determined to stop oil tankers from passing through the waters of her homeland waters. Ta’Kaiya is a member of the Tla A’min Nation, she has also been a youth advocate for climate change and Indigenous First Nations rights since the prodigal age of 10. Ta’ Kaiya is an ambassador for Native Children’s Survival (NCS) and has spoken before the United Nations. Kayaking For Beginners talented ensemble cast also includes Gemini-nominated Sonja Bennett (YPF, Preggoland, Where the Truth Lies) and Gemini Winner Lorne Cardinal (Corner Gas, Insomnia, If I had Wings).


Kayaking for Beginners follows 14-year-old Ella and her dysfunctional family as they travel the shores of the Great Bear Rainforest by kayak on a mission to testify against a proposed crude oil pipeline. They must face all the challenges that come along with navigating the Interior Passage including weather, water, wildlife, and each other. It’s a modern story about modern people, but the journey connects the characters to a history that fills them with purpose, and to a relationship with the natural world that unites us.

Kayaking For Beginners epitomizes the kind of project that excites us at Scythia. It’s intensely relevant; the challenges the characters face, both personal and political, are some of the challenges we are all facing.”

– Daniel Bekerman


Hollywood, CA: We Rock With Standing Rock was a concert benefiting the Oceti Sakowin Camp (Seven Council Fires) Fund, the Seeding Sovereignty Project, Native Children’s Survival and Give Love, following the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s latest victory preventing an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

ROBBY ROMERO photo by Mathew Tucciarone. Follow him on Instagram: @mathewtucciarone.

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Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine

December 2016

Mní Wičóni. Water is life. We are born in water. We have come together in peace and prayer from the four Sacred directions to protect this gift of life, now and for the generations to come. If the “fossil foolish” industry is allowed to poison any more of our waterways, it will be environmental genocide.

– Robby Romero


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By Sandy Tolan


Robby Romero and his fellow Native American activists have drawn a clear line on the cold North Dakota ground. 

“This is our stronghold,” Romero said. “They will not cross this line.” 

The line is North Dakota Highway 1806, which runs through the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, near where the Fortune 500 company Energy Transfer is building a $3.78-billion. 1,172-mile-long crude oil pipeline on lands adjacent to the reservation.

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Enbridge Northern Gateway: ‘First Nations Save Us Again’



By Carol Linnet • Thursday, June 30, 2016:


That was the message of a text I received from a friend after they heard of the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn the Harper government’s approval of the Unbridle Northern Gateway pipeline.

And it’s true: First Nations have borne the social burden once again of calling out undemocratic, law-breaking government actions that threaten the climate, the environment and human health.


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DPI/NGO: Environmental challenges – a forceful argument for global citizenship

un-news-center31 May 2016 – While global citizenship means many things to many people, discussions at the sixty-sixth United Nations/Non-Governmental Organizations Conference maintained that cultivating empathy, a scientific appreciation for the natural world and responsibility towards future generations must be at the core of education for global citizenship.

Youth Ambassador for Native Children’s Survival Ta’Kaiya Blaney shared a similar perspective.

“Having a deep connection of belonging and a kinship with both each other and the land is a founding principle of indigenous ideology,” she said. “This concept is severely lacking in our current society and there are many untold indigenous stories that are crucial in changing the narrative, which can change the mainstream perspective of the truth of this world.”

Ms. Blaney also asserted that indigenous peoples had a valuable part to play in combating climate change, since the majority of corporate industrial operations – most likely to contribute to climate change – were on indigenous territory.

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Dennis Hopper Days: Ride The Rebel Spirit

taos-newsTaos – May 11, 2016: Even if you’ve never seen the full length of the 1969 film “Easy Rider” or know nothing of its plot, you still likely know its imagery — and as Taoseños begin to polish their motorcycles and hit the streets this spring, many people will no doubt be reminded of Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda riding two long-forked choppers against the backdrop of the American West.

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Suquamish Hosts Earth Day Summit For Youth

gannett-logo-www.kitsapsun.com-500wideBy Rachel Seymour of the Kitsap Sun April 22, 2016

SUQUAMISH: During the Earth Day event, students heard from Ta’Kaiya Blaney, a 15-year-old environmental activist from the Sliammon First Nation in Canada, who became an advocate when she was 10 after discovering plans for an oil pipeline and tankers coming through her community.

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Ta’kaiya Blaney At Cop21

( via YouTube) Performer and activist Ta’Kaiya Blaney, 14, speaks at a Vancouver climate rally in 2015.

Indian Country Today 1/8/16 – Dominique Godrèche

Heritage, Reconciliation and Environmental Redemption Are All One

Ta’Kaiya, whose very name means “Special Water,” grew up in Vancouver, raised by her mother, a teacher, and her father, a social worker for Squamish youth.

“My family has always been inspiring and supportive,” she confides. Her work with the Salish Sea Youth Foundation takes place in her community around Vancouver. “I hope to bring the whales, sea otters, orcas, salmon and herring back. Our goal is to restore wildlife populations throughout the Salish Sea.”

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Ta’Kaiya Blaney’s voice captures the world’s attention

The Globe

But in between home-schooling in North Vancouver, such activities have become regular occurrences for 14-year-old singer and First Nations activist Ta’Kaiya Blaney. She has spent the past several years performing and speaking about indigenous issues and climate change at conferences, panels and protests throughout Canada and in cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Bandung, Indonesia.

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Ta’Kaiya Blaney Paris Match Magazine

logo_PMNotre album pour la planète à la COP 21

Paris Match – December 13, 2015: Ta’Kaiya Blaney, 14 ans amérindienne de Vancouver, égérie de L’association Native Children’s Survival

Ta’Kaiya Blaney is photographed for Paris Match with the photo album Ma Terre en Photos on November 26, 2015 in Paris, France.

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Ta’Kaiya Blaney – Indigenous Youth Leader

Deutsche Welle – December 9, 2015: FACES OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Anyone who thinks children should be seen and not heard has clearly never met Ta’kaiya Blaney. As ambassador for Native Children’s Survival she fights for the rights of minors in her indigenous Tla’Amin First Nation community, and for the native children the world over. Just 14 years old, she is wise way beyond her years, and a case in point for a truly inclusive dialog on climate change solutions.

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