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


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 Connection 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.”

Katie Johnson
Adäka Cultural Festival Co-Producer
867 332 5283