Ta'Kaiya Blaney

Ta'Kaiya Blaney, an Indigenous Environmental Activist from the Tla'Amin First Nation speaks on Indigenous rights, youth, water, and the MKW Summit. She has called for the global implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Rights of Mother Earth.
Play Video

2017 MKW Summit Report

The inaugural Mni Ki Wakan (Water is Sacred) Indigenous Water Decade-Summit was held in Minnesota, United States. Minnesota is Dakota ancestral territory, known as Mnisota Makoce: The Land of Misty and Foggy Waters. The original maps of the land were the sacred water ways of the Dakota people, and their sustainable source of transportation was the Caha’asan Wata, the Birchbark Canoe.

Today, Mnisota is known also as the land of 10,000 lakes and it is a part of one of the world’s richest aquatic regions that holds a third of the world’s fresh water, the Great Lakes. Today, the Great Lakes Region is the ancestral home to many diverse indigenous nations who are working to ensure its protection, preservation, and restoration of water.

To date, the Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples’ Decade of Water was announced to the world at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2016 calling for indigenous peoples, youth, diverse actors to unite in supporting indigenous voices on water. Preceding history had shown that the global water crisis was escalating, and indigenous peoples were being increasingly forced to defend their water rights.

The inaugural Mni Ki Wakan brought together indigenous peoples, youth, and allies from the surrounding region. Its keynote address was provided by, Ta’Kaiya Blaney from the Tla'Amin First Nation who has called for the global implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Blaney provided the opening plenary and was followed by a traditional protocol invocation of the Dakota people honoring the sacred spirit of water.

During key sessions, indigenous peoples, youth, and ally participant stakeholders provided guiding input into diverse thematic areas on water through interactive dialogues. Participants organized into innovation circles where they developed innovations (unprecedented action and ideas) for solution-oriented water approaches. Their voices helped to begin the journey of revealing what the water map and its sectors looked like for indigenous peoples, expanding p