This year’s Talking Stick Festival theme is Scháyilhen, which translates to “salmon going up”. While it refers to the fish taking their epic journey, the metaphor speaks well to the artistic work that Indigenous people have spawned here—as well as their fierce struggles.
With that in mind, here are some highlights from the festival, which flows from the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre around the city from next Wednesday (February 14) to February 24; see much more online.
Map of the Land, Map of the Stars
(February 20 to 22 at the Roundhouse)
Yukon’s Gwaandak Theatre tells the story of how the gold rush and the Alaska Highway altered traditional connections between land and sky, using a mix of theatre, dance, music, and striking archival video and photo projections.
Scháyilhen Visual Arts Exhibition
(February 14 to 24 at the Roundhouse)
Twelve Indigenous artists explore the theme of “Salmon going upriver”. Standouts include Shain Jackson’s 20-foot red-cedar Legacy salmon sculpture and Jay Haven’s Bargain Hunter, crafted from retail bags he collected on B.C. reserves.
(February 17 at the Russian Hall)
Southern Tutchone/Tlingit singer Diyet, who mashes rock-tinged alt-folk with traditional First Nations music, headlines a concert of young Indigenous stars.
Métis Kitchen Party
(February 18 at the Roundhouse)
Follow the sounds of fiddles to an authentic afternoon celebration, complete with the Louis Riel Métis Dancers, jig workshops, and more.