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Yukon University Brings “Indigenous Storytelling Series” to the Adäka Cultural Festival

Jun 28, 2022

The Adäka Cultural Festival is happy to announce partnership with Yukon University for its 10th anniversary.

YukonU is joining Adäka’s new Giving with Intention partner program to support the Lift Giving Circle. This new partnership between YukonU and Adäka will lift up the “Indigenous Storytelling Series” at the 2022 Festival and contribute to the research and revitalization of Yukon’s storytelling culture. The Series will see both Elders and emerging storytellers engage audiences in powerful and mesmerizing experiences as they share stories from their Indigenous cultures from July 1st to the 5th of festival programming.

The series will also include a presentation with the Yukon First Nations Climate Action Fellowship on Tuesday, July 5, where the Children of Tomorrow will share that their vision of reconnection is Climate Action – for the next 50 years. Yukon University is also lifting up “We Are the Stories We Tell” —a main-stage storytelling evening on Monday, July 4 with world-renowned storyteller, Louise Profeit–Leblanc, featuring Yukon storytellers.

“We want to see storytelling come alive at Adäka, and through this partnership with YukonU, we will be able to continue the oral traditions of our people and community,” says said Katie Johnson, Adäka Cultural Festival Co-Producer. “This series will help foster a strong sense of belonging and identity, and strengthen mental health and overall wellbeing through powerful cultural connections.”

An important component of the partnership will see YukonU conduct research on the importance of storytelling in education, as part of the Indigenous Knowledge research program’s Revitalization Yukon Indigenous Storytelling initiative. Through the University’s Youth Moving Mountains program, five Indigenous youth, including several Yukon high school students, will be hired over summer 2022 and will participate in experiences in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and Indigenous-led research approaches in partnership with researchers at the YukonU Research Centre. Daqualama Jocelyn Joe-Strack, YukonU’s Research Chair in Indigenous Knowledge, will mentor some of these students to carry out research by documenting their experience and growth from attending storytelling during Adäka and reflecting through sharing circles. Following the Festival, the students will outline the importance and impact of storytelling in youth education and offer recommendations on how to support storytelling programs in the future as part of advancing YukonU’s Becoming: Strategic Plan 2022–2027.

“I am honoured to be able to contribute to the revitalization of Yukon First Nation's storytelling by supporting the Adäka storytelling program through my Indigenous Knowledge research program. I believe our stories are essential in education, decision making and for everyday wellness, as they can change one's outlook and understanding of life. I look forward to researching the impact and importance of storytelling in youth education with youth from YukonU's Youth Moving Mountains program,” said Joe-Strack.

Storytelling is an oral-based educational approach that supports listening, personal growth, reflection and knowledge transfer; an important cultural tradition for Yukon First Nations. Long ago, grandparents and travelling storytellers would share knowledge with communities, especially children and youth. Today, space for storytelling remains fragmented and limited. Storytellers who hold knowledge have few venues to share—and young people in need of guidance are not being offered the teachings held in the stories. The co-presentation between Adäka and YukonU is creating space for and access to Indigenous storytelling.

Speaking of the new partnership, Dr. Lesley Brown, President & Vice Chancellor of Yukon University said, “YukonU is proud to sponsor the Adäka storytelling program in the spirit of supporting Yukon First Nation self-determination. Not only are we committed to the revitalization of storytelling, but we intend to explore the impact of this tradition on Indigenous youth and how we can include storytelling into today’s educational institutions to create an inclusive, just society.” 


The YukonU Research Centre partners with industry, communities, post-secondary institutions and all levels of government—including Indigenous governments—to conduct applied research across Canada’s North.

Yukon University is a flexible post-secondary institution that includes a place and pathway for every learner. Our students are grounded in education and research relevant to the North. Our resourceful and creative graduates are building a resilient, versatile and ambitious future for all northerners. Becoming—YukonU’s 2022-2027 Strategic Plan—is our road map to realizing the promise and potential of being Canada’s first university North of 60.

With over 40 degree, diploma, certificate and trades programs, local learners can access opportunities without needing to leave home—those from across Canada and beyond are invited to deepen their understanding of our rapidly changing circumpolar world.   

Our 13 campuses are located on the Traditional Territories of the 14 Yukon First Nations. We respect and honour Yukon First Nations knowledge, worldviews and educational priorities in every aspect of YukonU. 


The Adäka Cultural Festival will take place from June 29 to July 5, 2022 at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre with the theme, ‘Northern Connections’. Over 200 visual and performing artists from across Canada’s North and guest artists from other Circumpolar countries will gather to showcase their arts, music, and cultures and take part in a rich program full of collaborative opportunities for learning, sharing, presenting, and cultural exchange.

Launched in July 2011, the mission of the Adäka Cultural Festival is to develop and deliver a world-class, iconic event that showcases, celebrates, and fosters the development of Yukon’s diverse and distinctive Yukon Indigenous arts and culture. YFNCT proudly produces the festival, led by a strong board of Yukon First Nations leaders.

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

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Katie Johnson
Adäka Cultural Festival Co-Producer
(867) 332-5283

Tanis Davey
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
YukonU Research Centre
(867) 332-8625