Indigenous artists gather in Haines Junction for the Dákù Nän Ts’éddhyèt Dance Festival

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Nyla Capentier during her fancy shawl powwow dance at Dákų̀ Nän Tsʼéddhyèt Dance Festival in Haines Junction on June 15, 2019.
Throat singers from Nunavut Patricia Kablutsiak, left, and Louis Suluk, perform at Dákų̀ Nän Tsʼéddhyèt Dance Festival in Haines Junction on June 15, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A little boy is invited to check out Laura Grizzlypaws’ bear skin during her performance at Dákų̀ Nän Tsʼéddhyèt Dance Festival in Haines Junction on June 14, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Women carve traditional soapberry spoons during a Dákų̀ Nän Tsʼéddhyèt Dance Festival workshop in Haines Junction on June 15, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Pavva Iñupiaq dancers from Fairbanks, Alaska, Matia Wartes, 13, left, and Clara Zayon, 13, carve traditional soapberry spoons during a Dákų̀ Nän Tsʼéddhyèt Dance Festival workshop in Haines Junction on June 15, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Members of the New Dawn Drum Group from Saskatchewan perform on the main stage at the Da Kų Cultural Centre in Haines Junction on June 15, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Laura Grizzlypaws perfroms a bear dance at Dákų̀ Nän Tsʼéddhyèt Dance Festival in Haines Junction on Jun. 14, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Laura Grizzlypaws performs her bear dance at Dákų̀ Nän Tsʼéddhyèt Dance Festival in Haines Junction on Jun. 14, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
All performers join together to march around the Da Kų Cultural Centre during the Da Kų Nän Ts’étthyèt Dance Festival grande parade in Whitehorse on June 15, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Haines Junction was alive with the sounds of music over the weekend, thanks to the Dákù Nän Ts’éddhyèt (Our house is waking up the land) Dance Festival.

The third biennial gathering at the Da Ku Culture Centre featured perfomers from across North America and was a mix of traditional and contemporary Indigenous artists

The line up included Tall Paul, a Minnesota based Anishinaabe and Oneida hip-hop artist; the New Dawn Drum Group, a fivesome of young women dummers from Saskatchewan; Laura Grizzlypaws, a singer and dancer in the St’át’imc tradition from British Columbia; Louis Suluk and Patricia Kabultsiak, throat singers from Nunavut; and many others.

Nyla Carpentier, a veteran fancy shawl powwow dancer from Vancouver, B.C., performed at the festival for the second time.

“For me, coming to these events is another way to keep on revitalizing dances, language, and land,” said Carpentier, “and also the way that we come together and share cultural roots too.”

Gathering and sharing is something that Indigenous people have been doing for thousands of years, she said, and this is a modern day form of that.

In the past it was hunting and fishing, said Champagne and Aishihik First Nation (CAFN) Chief Steve Smith, and today it’s to have fun, eat good food and watch performances.

“Whenever you experience something that is great and powerful, the people you share it with, you always have attachments with,” said Smith. “We’re creating partnership and attachments for people.”

CAFN has always been about connecting and creating friendships, he said, and this festival really embraces that fact. It’s a festival about learning, growing and healing, which promotes a sense of community for those involved.

“It’s like a tool for us to build up the pride in our people and get our people motivated to do some cultural stuff and rebuild their spirits,” Smith said, “getting them proud of who they are as Champagne Aishihik First Nations as well as Indigenous people.”

Carpentier, for one, said she is very thankful to CAFN for organizing the festival every two years because it is important for all Indigenous people. The blend of traditional and contemporary dances is a reminder to everyone that Indigenous people are always continuing to grow and evolve, she said.

“We are hearing new songs and seeing new takes on regalia and it is evolving because Indigenous people are not stagnant.”

Contact Crystal Schick at crystal.schick@yukon-news.com

dance

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson the dog sits next to the Chariot Patrick Jackson has loaded and rigged up to walk the Dempster Highway from where it begins, off the North Klondike Highway, to the Arctic Circle. (Submitted)
Walking the Dempster

Patrick Jackson gets set for 405-kilometre journey

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
BREAKING: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read