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Adäka Cultural Festival Celebrates Unity of Nations

May 11, 2023

The Adäka Cultural Festival is delighted to return from June 29 to July 5, 2023 at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre.

The 2023 festival will celebrate the unity of the Northern Dene Nations and Yukon First Nations as they come together to honour their cultures through art, music, stories, language, history, and more. 

Impressive performances will be held on the Mainstage in the Long House while traditional practices and teachings will be woven into the week’s invigorating schedule. Adäka’s gallery will be full of jaw-dropping artwork where guests can peruse while also learning from demonstrating visual artists onsite. This year, Adäka will also dedicate a full day for artists, focusing on professional development, sharing, and celebration.

“We’ve approached this year with renewed intention and are proud to deliver meaningful programming for guests and Yukoners to enjoy,” says Katie Johnson Adäka Cultural Festival Co-Founder. “We wanted to honour our artists in an impactful way this year and are excited to incorporate an artist-only day, packed with opportunities to connect and collaborate with each other.”

Adäka embraces this moment in time as an opportunity to share stories and culture with pride and purpose to harness the spirit within and around all who are involved. The Adäka Cultural Festival is a celebration of Indigenous arts and culture that brings us together, shining light on a stunning range of traditional and contemporary visual and performing artists.


Thursday, June 29 - Opening Ceremony- Adäka returns! 
Join us for the opening of Adäka 2023 as we highlight the strength of the Northern Dene Nations with performances by Brian Ladue, Dena Zagi, Fort Good Hope Drummers and Kaska Dene Drummers.

Friday, June 30 - Reconnection Vision Launch Party
Come celebrate the YFN Climate Action Fellowship’s release of the Reconnection Vision, a pathway for change from the Children of Tomorrow. Youth are invited to join this evening of inspiration, dancing, and fun to celebrate their vision of Reconnection with our whole selves, each other, and the Land. Reconnection is Climate Action. 

Saturday, July 1 – Community Dance – Adäka Style
Get your moccasins ready for some jigging! Our exciting program will feature Gwich’in, Dene and Métis fiddlers plus the quick-footed Teechik Dancers from Old Crow! This upbeat community dance, featuring old style and contemporary fiddlers, is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. 

Sunday, July 2 – Hand Games 
Experience a full afternoon of hand games! This traditional game is one of guessing and deceiving, played to a chorus of drums, bringing great energy to the room. Learn the history and rules, enjoy watching a game in action, and even try it out yourself. Sure to be an energetic afternoon not to be missed. 

Monday, July 3 - ImagineNATIVE Film Screenings and Artist Talk Back
Take in a dynamic selection of six short films created by Indigenous filmmakers, all of which were presented at the 2022 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. This short film experience reflects on the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next and honours where you and your ancestors have come from. Stay for the Artist Talk Back featuring Eric Janvier, a multi-hyphenate filmmaker who has found space in both the narrative and documentary fields.

Tuesday, July 4 – Honouring our Artists
A full day dedicated to honouring the artists participating in the Adäka Cultural Festival, this day is closed to the public. Artists will enjoy professional development workshops, opportunities to connect and share, and a community BBQ. 

Wednesday, July 5 – Confluence by Ravenspirit Dance
You won’t want to miss this performance as it weaves perspectives, histories and bodies to create somatic tapestry that speaks to the resilience of Indigenous women. Embodying the space between land and sky through play, prayer, grief and gratitude and, a living testament to the legacy that has been offered. Aligning lives with the direction of the water in a river or geese in migration, acknowledging we are always in process, shaping and carving through landscapes, creating rhythms and discovering our stories. Produced by Ravenspirit Dance and co-presented by the Adäka Cultural Festival and Yukon Arts Centre. Tickets are available now at



Gallery –Take in high-quality Indigenous visual arts and crafts created by over 70 Indigenous visual artists from across Canada and displayed in the professional 2,300 square foot gallery. 

Artist Studio Tent – Connect with the cultural community as you observe and interact with visual artists transforming raw materials into beautiful works of art in the massive artist studio tent. Mingle in this informal shared creation space, and learn first-hand about artists’ materials, techniques, and inspiration in both traditional and contemporary styles.

Cultural Presentations – Immerse yourself and gain deeper understanding in these presentations from Northern Dene Nations and Yukon First Nations artists, knowledge keepers, scholars. The range of topics includes reconciliation, traditional knowledge, climate change, language revitalization, cultural revitalization, and more.

Hide Tanning Camp - Hide Tanning Camp is a welcoming space for visitors to come sit, chat and participate in the process of adhòh tr’ahshii (hide tanning). Copper Caribou sisters, Delaney and Montana Prysnuk will be offering hide tanning demonstrations, guest speaker talks and hands-on learning. 

Workshops – Sign up for some of the 30+ arts workshops tailored to beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. There will be public and youth workshops available, as well as some that will center Indigenous artists as participants, as they network and learn advanced skills from each other. 

Youth Programming – Daily youth programming will be available, so bring the family and enjoy fun activities. A kid’s tent will be onsite as a place to gather and will be filled with fun activities! Storytelling, workshops and more will be available daily.



Volunteer opportunities

The Adäka Cultural Festival is currently seeking volunteers for June 26 to July 7. Volunteers are needed for hospitality, set up and take down, transportation, logistics, front of house, security, gallery sales, and more. For more information and to sign up, visit

Give with Intention

Support from the business community, organizations, and Yukon First Nations governments is crucial for the ongoing success of the Festival. Partners can decide which of the four intentional giving circles align with their support best: community, connect, life, or grow.

If you’re interested in partnering, please contact Kelly Proudfoot at

To learn more about how to give with intention, visit:

Adäka funding partners include the Government of Canada, Yukon Government, Canadian Heritage, Canadian Council for the Arts, Makeway Foundation, and Lotteries Yukon.