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  • Summary

  • In 1970, in one of the most infamous orca round-ups in history, an orca calf named Tokitae was taken from the islands off the coast of Seattle. For more than 50 years, she has lived at the Miami Seaquarium, in North America’s smallest orca tank.

    Multiple lawsuits have been brought forward to free her, all of which so far have failed.

    Then, in 2017, an elder from the Lummi Nation received a message, carried from a dream. “Can anybody hear me?” Tokitae said, “I want to go home.”

    To the Lummi, Tokitae is not just an animal in captivity, she is a kidnapped relative. Now, members of the Lummi Nation are taking up the fight to return Tokitae to the Salish Sea, where she was born.

    But there’s a problem. Tokitae’s wild family is struggling for survival. Is it safe to bring her home, when her family here is facing extinction?

    “What happens to the orcas is going to happen to us,” says Jay Julius, the former Chairman of the Lummi Nation. “And what happens to the Indians is going to happen to everyone else.”

    Bonnie Swift grew up on Penn Cove, hearing the story of Tokitae’s capture, and as a child sang songs at protest events on Tokitae’s behalf. Now, in her thirties, Bonnie's come back to Tokitae. This is a story about killer whales, capture teams, Free Willy, the failures of environmental law, the extinction crisis, indigenous rights, grief, spirituality, and, most of all, the promise of repair.

    ©2021 Bonnie Swift Productions LLC (P)2021 Bonnie Swift Productions LLC
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Episodes
  • Chapter 2: Superpod

    Nov 25 2021
    Tokitae’s extended family, the southern resident killer whales, have lived in the Salish Sea for at least 700,000 years. Likely longer. They are highly sentient beings, with large, wrinkly brains, x-ray vision, languages, cultures, and they live in matriarchal family units called pods. They are also on the brink of extinction.
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    50 mins
  • Chapter 1: How to Capture a Whale

    Nov 18 2021
    Tokitae’s capture in 1970 was one of the most infamous orca round-ups in history. Seven calves were taken, and five whales drowned. The public outcry following this capture helped put an end to the capture era in Washington State. Of those seven calves who were taken, Tokitae is the last survivor.
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    58 mins
  • Trailer

    Nov 4 2021
    In 1970, in one of the most infamous orca round-ups in history, an orca calf named Tokitae was taken from the islands off the coast of Seattle. For more than 50 years, she has lived at the Miami Seaquarium, in North America’s smallest orca tank.

    Multiple lawsuits have been brought forward to free her, all of which so far have failed.

    Then, in 2017, an elder from the Lummi Nation received a message, carried from a dream. “Can anybody hear me?” Tokitae said, “I want to go home.”

    To the Lummi, Tokitae is not just an animal in captivity, she is a kidnapped relative. Now, members of the Lummi Nation are taking up the fight to return Tokitae to the Salish Sea, where she was born.

    But there’s a problem. Tokitae’s wild family is struggling for survival. Is it safe to bring her home, when her family here is facing extinction?

    “What happens to the orcas is going to happen to us,” says Jay Julius, the former Chairman of the Lummi Nation. “And what happens to the Indians is going to happen to everyone else.”

    Bonnie Swift grew up on Penn Cove, hearing the story of Tokitae’s capture, and as a child sang songs at protest events on Tokitae’s behalf. Now, in her thirties, Bonnie's come back to Tokitae. This is a story about killer whales, capture teams, Free Willy, the failures of environmental law, the extinction crisis, indigenous rights, grief, spirituality, and, most of all, the promise of repair.

    Show More Show Less
    2 mins

What listeners say about Tokitae

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  • Andrea Harrington
  • 15-11-2021

Captivating!

We're drawn in, on the edge of our seats waiting to hear the next episode of Lolita's journey. Our hearts fell, but we're hopeful. We're going to tune in on Nov. 18th. Thanks for sharing this important story.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Reed S Matheny
  • 13-11-2021

Can’t wait for the rest!!

I’m already hooked from the trailer. Can’t wait to hear the whole story of Tokitae.

3 people found this helpful

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  • R. Bouchard
  • 25-11-2021

Let’s Help Bring Tokitae Home!

An inspiring podcast to share with everyone who believes they can make a difference! I’m sharing this with my students as a springboard to a class project that can lead to action to build awareness about Tokitae and how we can help bring her home! What can we do as a collective?

2 people found this helpful

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  • Bookworm42
  • 20-11-2021

Cliffhanger

Incredible story it ends at a cliffhanger can’t wait for the rest of the series!

2 people found this helpful

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  • D Keene
  • 30-11-2021

Absolutely beautiful

This is amazing story at so many levels…it’s told with history, heart and humor.

I’m moved to tears. Bonnie Swift is an incredible storyteller. I was drawn in by everything-the land acknowledgement and honoring, personal connections to the Salish Sea and the author’s deep inquiry and understanding of the ways the health of the orcas is an indicator of human wellness—it makes a story that could have been abstract, resonantly relatable.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kristin
  • 28-11-2021

Extraordinary story, beautifully made

If you're a fan of shows like Serial, RadioLab, and This American Life, you will love this. And it may remind you of the nonfiction of writers like Joan Didion, Rebecca Solnit, or Jon Krakauer, where the narrator is deeply committed, clear-eyed, and lets the scenes and details pack the wallop. Even though I have some understanding of the subject, I've been surprised by how much I've learned in each episode, and humbled by what it reveals about our ignorance of animals and our environment. Would love to see this assigned in schools,

1 person found this helpful

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  • Luisa Beck
  • 26-11-2021

Gut- and heart-wrenching, and totally gripping

The story is heart-wrenching, beautifully told, and a real nail-biter. I'll never forget the cries of the baby whales, and how the story conveys their emotions, personalities, and fate in such a moving and personal way. Bonnie is a fantastic narrator -- curious, invested in finding out the truth, and reflective about her place in the environmental crisis we're in the midst of and its implication for the extinction of countless species. I look forward to hearing the next episodes and am really touched by the series so far.

1 person found this helpful

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  • lihauihilani
  • 28-11-2021

What a great telling of an important story

This is an important story well told, and one we need to hear so we can help protect these whales, the salmon and the Salish Sea.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.