Climate Action Youth Ambassadors Canada (CAYAC)



Climate Action Youth Ambassadors Canada (CAYAC) is a network of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth (ages 16-30) who care deeply about the impacts of climate change and are passionate about discovering and sharing inspiring climate solutions.

The CAYAC initiative stems from the Acting on Climate Change: Indigenous Innovations project, a research and knowledge mobilization partnership between The Assembly of First Nations, McGill University, The Arctic Institute for Community Based Research, The First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable Development Institute and The POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria. Find out more about the partnership project here.

The IISAAK OLAM Foundation designed and hosted the western youth training and provided climate action mentorship and capacity development to four Indigenous youth in the summer of 2017. The Foundation expanded the CAYAC program to also include non-Indigenous youth in 2019.

Youth Ambassadors

Ta’Kaiya Blaney

Ta’Kaiya Blaney

Chloe Dragon Smith

Chloe Dragon Smith

Katie Hargus

Katie Hargus

Jee-Ho Paik -  Introductory blog here!
James Smith

James Smith

Helen Knott

Helen Knott


Cultivating Connections through Climate Action

A Blog Series by Youth Ambassador Katie Hargus

This blog describes the experiences and reflections of Katie Hargus, a Climate Action Youth Ambassador and Youth Engagement Coordinator with the IISAAK OLAM Foundation. The series highlights the interconnections between climate change and socio-economic inequality, education, access to natural spaces, and other socio-political factors. Katie’s goal is to spark solutions-based thinking, inspire action, and cultivate resilience to the impacts of climate change through connecting youth with their environments.

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Our era is one of immense, unpredictable, and long-term change. With the combined forces of climate change, unsustainable land use practices, rapidly growing populations, and lack of sufficient support from the infrastructure and governments of industrialized nations, we require drastic shifts in the ways we interact and relate with our land, communities, and the earth as a whole….


More from our Youth Ambassadors


July 2019.

The Women's Honour Canoe was launched into the world in a walking ceremonial procession during the #WomenDeliver2019 conference in Vancouver BC this past June.

Carved by Tla-o-qui-aht master carver Joe Martin, the canoe symbolizes and honours the leadership of women in their efforts to heal our society and the environment. During the procession, the canoe was carried by men, holding up Climate Action Youth Ambassador and Indigenous environmental activist Ta’Kaiya Blaney.

Blaney spoke of the connection between violence against Mother Earth and acts of violence against women. Her song, dedicated to her late mother, provided words of comfort and hope that there is a positive movement underway.

June 20, 2019. CBC The National.

CAYAC Youth Ambassador Ta’kaiya Blaney, one of the champions of the Women’s Honour Canoe, was interviewed on The National, the flagship nightly newscast of CBC News.

When it comes to climate change, many Canadian youth are not leaving it up to politicians to solve the issue. A panel of young activists explains how they are taking up the fight themselves.

“As Indigenous people, we’re born into a sense of responsibility and obligation to take care of our territories,” explained Ta’kaiya. See the full interview in the video on the left.

“Water, land and a love for the people… that’s what brought me here to this point.”

- Helen Knott, Youth Ambassador

Creative short video made by Helen Knott, CAYAC Youth