FESTIVAL PROGRAM GUIDE
Based in Haines Junction, Yukon, the Dakwäkäda Dancers have been teaching young people in Southern Tutchone and Tlingit cultures through the tradition of song and dance for more than 20 years.
The group was established by four sisters, all granddaughters of the late Annie Ned. A well-known and respected Southern Tutchone Elder, Annie Ned taught many people to dance, sing and become knowledgeable about the traditional way of life. Her songs and dances form the basis of the group’s repertoire.
Each song is introduced with its origin and story, thus the audience understands the importance of what is being shared. The Dakwäkäda Dancers are ambassadors of their culture, their community, and the Yukon Territory. Establishing and achieving a performance goal is gratifying for the children and a source of pride for the community.”
Marissa and Kona are a mother-daughter team from Lhù’ààn Mân (Kluane Lake) and are part of the Crow clan. Kona, who is also Anishinaabe, was born in Anishinaabe Aki, or Ottawa, and that is where they were both introduced into the Powwow circle by many friends and teachers. They will be sharing the Jingle Dress dance and powwow steps at the Da Kų Nän Ts’étthèt.
New Dawn is a all-female drum group who started singing in 2007 by learning to sing in sweat ceremonies and were later gifted with buffalo drums by Leo Nicotine. He recognized the healing gifts the girls had in their voices and since then the girls embraced their gifts of healing by practicing more with their teacher Robert Ballentyne, who also encouraged and recognized the healing properties their voices inhabited. all the while learning proper protocols and recognizing which songs to use for different ceremony.
Each girl represent the four directions; Aleisha represents the thunder bird or water in her Blue regalia, Margaret represents the wind or air with the color red, Marcia represents the sun or fire spirit with the color yellow and Ariel represents the creator with the color white and later a fifth girl, Gina, joins the group in 2015 and represents the grandmother with the color purple.
Together the girls travel across Canada to inspire the youth to go down the path of tradition by relating with the youth through their experiences with foster homes, alcoholism, drugs, suicide, or having a missing family member. The girls speak to the youth in a way to help overcome the struggles they experience by inspiring them with their own stories of determination and life experiences. The drum groups strength has made hardships tolerable, and the ladies always go back to the songs and drum for healing and by introducing the drum in a personal way to others we hope to also help heal and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
Nyla Carpentier (Tahltan, Kaska, French, Scottish) is a multifaceted performing artist currently residing in North Vancouver. She’s an actor, writer, powwow dancer and workshop facilitator. Nyla started to dance at powwows when she was in tiny tots and now has over 30 years of experiences. She shares her experience by teaching the various powwow styles with focus on the fancy shawl, sharing the dance steps and the history. In 2011, in partnership with Raven Spirit Dance Company, she started the popular Powwow Bootcamp series.
Pavva Iñupiaq Dancers are residents of the Fairbanks area, and was formed to preserve the culture and traditions of the Iñupiaq peoples through song and dance. Sharing our culture through performances to both Alaska Native and non-Native peoples help us keep strong in our heritage. Fairbanks is in the interior of Alaska and the name “Pavva,” in Iñupiaq means ‘away from shore, landwards, toward the mountain’ was chosen. The group chose this name because they live away from the Northern region where their parents and grandparents originally lived.
Tagish Nation Dancers are a family-driven dance group, with 5 generations of dancers, all who have ties to Tagish Kwan. The group started in 1973 at the elementary school in Carcross, Yukon as a program to bridge the gap between education and culture within the Carcross community. The performers showcase Tagish and inland Tlingit culture through singing, dancing, and storytelling. There are anywhere from 10 to 40 dancers at any given performance. These dancers have also travelled to many countries around the world showcasing and practicing their culture and traditions.
Dehmin Cleland is from the Turtle Clan of Ojibwe and Odawa nation, originally from Wikwemikong Unceded Territory Manitoulin Island, Ontario. Dehmin is currently residing in Toronto for school studying Indigenous Visual Culture BA. She have danced women’s traditional style since about 10 years old and before that, danced jingle dress styles. Her family brought her into the powwow circle when she started walking and has travelled through the U.S and Canada to powwow and perform.
Boozhoo Wesley Cleland
Ojibway from Pontiac Michigan, but now calles Wiikwemkoong his home with 5 children and wife. He is a pharmacy technician to support his family and a men’s fancy dancer at heart. He has been dancing this style for over 30 years and has performed a powwow dance all over Canada, United States, and overseas. His family and him are all dancers and when he get a chance to share his style, he will.
Tracy is a Odawa, Ojibway, and Botawanmi from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Reserve. She is a wife and a mother to five beautiful children. She is a cultural arts teacher in her home community. She has been a women’s fancy dancer for 39 years. The women’s fancy dance is energetic, colorful, has fancy footwork, and is very popular amongst young dancers. The fancy dance is the newest style of dance and has evolved from the oldest style of Anishnabae dance in the Traditional Style.