Talking Stick Festival 2023 celebrates start of National Indigenous History Month

Festivities reach their crescendo on June 21.

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      Full Circle: First Nations Performance launched the 22nd annual Talking Stick Festival on Thursday, June 1, to celebrate National Indigenous History month with a number of free and ticketed events happening all throughout Vancouver. 

      The festival runs until July 2, with shows including headline performances by singer-songwriter Logan Straats, as well as a show from multimedia maker DJ KOOKUM. Other highlights include a burlesque show, gala, book launch, theatre performance, documentary screening, and 4D audio performance, to name just a few. 

      “As a Māori Pacific Islander producer from Aotearoa, I'm proud to be part of this year’s Talking Stick Festival,” said Full Circle associate producer Nathan Mudge in a release. “This event truly enhances the visibility of Indigenous arts, culture, and narratives. As we navigate beyond COVID-19, we stand on the precipice of a new era. Through the continued sharing and uplifting of our stories, we move towards an unequivocal truth—the future is Indigenous.”

      This year’s festival theme is Summer Reverb, an ode to the joining of amplified voices and sound in performance. Events will take place across a wide range of iconic Vancouver venues, including The Cultch, Vancouver Public Library and SFU Woodwards. 

      The Roundhouse Performance Centre will host a day of Indiqueer events presented in conjunction with Queer Arts Festival on June 18, and Lobe Studios will be bringing back Lisa Cooke Ravensbergen’s The Seventh Fire, a 4D audio experience that premiered during January’s PuSh Performing Arts Festival. 

      June was designated National Indigenous History Month in 2009 as a way for people living in so-called Canada to learn about, and honour, the traditions and cultures of Indigenous Peoples. On June 21, National Indigenous People’s Day, the festival will hold a special Summer Solstice Celebration,  with “a diverse mix of ceremony, storytelling, dance and music, paired with a fashion show curated by a local designer,” according to the release. 

      Talking Stick Festival 2023 runs from June 1 to July 2. A full list of both free and ticketed events can be found at the festival’s website here.