People gather to play a loud and exciting game of Dene hand games outside the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre during the Adäka Cultural Festival in Whitehorse on July 1, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

People gather to play a loud and exciting game of Dene hand games outside the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre during the Adäka Cultural Festival in Whitehorse on July 1, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Performers, artists and more sought for Adäka Cultural Festival

Organizers plan for in-person and virtual festival events

Both in-person and virtual events are being planned for the Adäka Cultural Festival set for June 25 to July 1 at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse.

The Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association announced in a March 10 statement that the festival will go ahead for 2021 with a Yukon-wide community focus, “bringing Yukon First Nations safely together in person and virtually.”

The festival was first held in 2011 to showcase and celebrate First Nations arts and culture. It has been held each year since with the exception of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers stated in their announcement that the festival will take a different shape this year “to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.”

It goes on to note that the importance of community and connection have been highlighted over the past year and in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the festival, it will celebrate communities and the power of knowledge, wisdom and resiliency.

Each day of the festival, the different nations of the Yukon will be honoured.

Kaska, Southern Tutchone, Northern Tutchone, Tlingit, Upper Tanana, Han and Gwitchin programming will feature cultural sharing with youth, elders, knowledge keepers, artists, performers and others.

“We’re excited with the direction of Adäka this year as a result of the need to adapt to ensure the health and safety of Yukoners and all those involved,” festival producer Katie Johnson said. “The festival will provide many different opportunities to come together as a community, both virtually and in person, to elevate our many vibrant, diverse, and resilient Yukon Indigenous cultures, building on the success of previous festivals.”

Among the plans for the 2021 festival are an outdoor performing arts show, an Indigenous fashion show, a series of workshops which will each be limited to 10 people, a variety of cultural presentations, visual arts demonstrations and a professional retail gallery.

Organizers are now looking for Yukon Indigenous artists, performers, fashion designers and knowledge keepers to be part of the festival’s program offerings.

Those looking to be part of it can get further details and submit applications at the Adäka website.

Applications must be submitted by April 15, officials said.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the festival is also invited to contact Johnson at

Contact Stephanie Waddell at


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