At first I thought… The most powerful thing that you can do for your people, your future, your land, your air, your water is to fight and die for what you believe in. But it’s not true… you have to LIVE for what you believe in.
So begins the wise words of 13-year old Sliammon Native Youth, Ta’Kaiya Blaney in a recent video (below) by Indigenous Rising. If you are like me then you will be moved to tears by hearing what she has to say after that in the video, but you’ll have to watch it to find out. I recently had the pleasure of talking with Ta’Kaiya about the video while delving into the changing face of social engagement that is bringing healing for our communities and the environment.
We have to live for what we believe in.
Often when we look at anger, heartache, grief, that is all that we see, but the deeper truth is that these are expressions of love, of awakening. Whether we are seeing these tough emotions in ourselves, or others it is never easy but it is imperative for growth. Ta’Kaiya speaks from the perspective of being native, but the sentiments are universal, spanning cultures, continents and time:
When I first started attending rallies that were protesting the actions of large companies, I saw a lot of rage with very little focus on solutions, on what’s next. Sometimes you don’t have the luxury to be diplomatic when you are being oppressed, but it is still always important to show love whenever you can. Communities are wounded and in disrepair and that is common to all of us. By representing love and inclusivity other people will feel less threatened which makes it easier to find commonality.
I remember in the early days of the Idle No More Movement being awe-struck by seeing natives take to the streets and public places with drums, singing and dancing. It was beautiful, cultural, positive, and yet it was bringing attention to some very painful truths. In Idle No More, Hints of a Global Super-Movement I write about this emerging phenomena and close with a video of Ta’Kaiya speaking at a rally when she was only 11. Together we have seen so much growth and evolution since then, it is a very exciting time to participate in our unfolding future.
Velcrow Ripper has made enormous contributions with films like Scared Sacred, and Occupy Love that encourage us to bring a spiritual perspective to our work for positive planetary change. Takaiya mentioned a sentiment that many activists often hold, “Spirituality is not a bypass for being active about things that matter in the world.” We reflected together how powerful it is when activists embody love and spiritual practitioners take action. The result is an all-inclusive beautiful revolution, and exactly what we need right now on planet earth.
Last year at this time Ta’Kaiya collaborated with Unify on the World Water Day Campaign, #lovewater. The result was a very powerful video that ended up making the rounds on Upworthy, Huffington Post and many other outlets. Since this years #lovewater campaign is about to launch for World Water Day on March 22nd- a collaboration between UPLIFT, Unify and some other amazing partners- I asked her how she felt about working with Unify:
Working with Unify evoked a hopeful spirit in me. (it was) A really beautiful exercise in representing love. I hope to work with them again.
Rage can become addictive and it is sometimes exactly what is needed but we are here to remind ourselves to go deeper. Ta’Kaiya is doing that through her music and writings on her website, and also through her conservation efforts with other youth at Salish Sea Youth. She is poetic even when talking informally on the phone:
Like a plant that disrupts the soil making room for the roots to grow we have a lot to live for. Don’t react to the negative, instead make it a platform for something beautiful. We have a wonderful future waiting for us, I wish to know that I participated in that change.
I think we’d all like to feel that! So the question is, “What is your contribution to the Beautiful Revolution?” There is a growing community of people who want to support you in rising to the occasion. You can start by watching this videos above, as I have made sure not to tell you everything in this article, and share this with your friends and networks. Together we are loving louder, and that is something that will become more beautiful as it continues to grow.
**Post originally appeared on UPLIFT Connect**
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