The Talking Stick Festival celebrates Indigenous History Month with dance performances, live music, and tattoos
(This story is sponsored by Full Circle: First Nations Performance.)
North America's largest Indigenous arts and culture festival will soon take over several locations across Vancouver from June 12 to July 3—for the 21st year in a row. To celebrate, the Talking Stick Festival is hosting an exciting lineup of events that showcase talented Indigenous performers in music, dance, theatre, film, and more.
In Canada, June encompasses National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous People’s Day on the 21st. During both, Canadians are encouraged to reflect upon the sacrifices, resilience, and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
The three-week Talking Stick Festival is inclusive and accessible as events are free or “by donation”— honouring Indigenous history and culture should know no bounds. Every performer will have the opportunity to share their personal stories and experiences with audiences.
The 2022 Talking Stick Festival was given the title “Come Together”, inviting attendees on a canoe journey across ancestral land as they explore Indigenous culture through art.
“This year, we’re happy to be fully integrated in the performing arts community, leveraging local partnerships to provide more opportunities for our Indigenous artists. Many of them will work alongside and be a part of local Indigenous and non-Indigenous productions,” says Margo Kane, founder and artistic managing director of Full Circle: First Nations Performance.
The creative concept embeds symbolic meaning throughout with eagles representing wisdom, courage, and strength to conquer any terrain. The Ancestral silhouettes providing guidance along their journey on the canoe while the cedar bough provides protection against negative energies they may encounter during their travels.
The backdrop of this year’s theme is set against the majestic mountains and ocean that meet in the land of the Coast Salish People—a diverse First Nations community. The theme “Come Together” will be communicated in the three languages spoken in this land: Ḵxwúsem (Squamish), m̓i q̓əq̓aʔt ct (Musqueam), and Qápqúthut (Tsleil-Waututh).
The 2022 program lineup sets the Talking Stick Festival apart from other events of its kind. Folks can immerse themselves in live music at the Indigenous Summer Stage event that’s hosted outdoors at šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn (formerly the QET Plaza) or the Let’s Hear It! Live Indigenous Showcase at Fortune Sound Club. Attendees can also participate in the DTES Powwow, in memory of the children lost at the residential schools.
In partnership with Urban Ink Production, Stories That Transform Us will be screened at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.
From June 13 to 30, those with an interest in the art form of tattoo at sacred skin, an exhibition that showcases the works of seven Indigenous tattoo artists: Audie Murray, Dion Kaszas, Gig–K’aajuu G’aaya, Holly Mititquq Nordlum, Nahaan, Nakkita Trimble, and Nicole Neidhardt. The event explores each artist’s process and the meanings behind their designs.
Full Circle has also partnered with the Coastal Jazz & Blues Society to feature Indigenous performers at the annual TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, taking place from June 24 to July 3.
Sister duo DJ KoaKeA and DJ Keilani Rose, Vancouver-based artist JB the First Lady, sibling duo Sister Says, and Handsome Tiger, a DJ from Turtle Island, are among the 12 Indigenous acts scheduled to play for audiences. EDM and hip-hop enthusiasts can also catch DJ Kookum, a high-energy DJ who tours with the Snotty Nose Rez Kids.
For the full festival lineup, click here.