STORYTELLERS FESTIVAL 2023: SĀKITAWĀHK ~ WHERE THE RIVERS MEET
This year’s festival involved Indigenous storytelling told through a variety of contemporary art forms including dance, theatre, music, and performance.
The 2023 theme was, sâkitawâhk, a Cree word meaning, “where the rivers meet.” Which had a special focus on gender and 2Spirit identities, sâkitawâhk celebrates the true spirit of the festival as a point of gathering and kinship through collaboration, interconnectivity, and community.
Images graciously provided by sweetmoon photography.
A message from our 2023 Festival Coordinator
It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome everyone to the 2023 Storytellers Festival! Thank you to each individual and organizations whose generous contributions helped get us here.
This year’s theme is sâkitawâhk, a cree word meaning ‘where the rivers meet.’ In seeking to disrupt existing colonial structures, sâkitawâhk pays homage to the true spirit of the festival as a point of gathering and kinship through collaboration, interconnectivity, and community. This year, our particular focus is on gender and 2spirit identities as it ties into autonomy, reclamation and empowerment. You may notice these themes recur throughout the festival and within the individual artistic practices of the artists joining us.
As you enjoy this year’s festival, please take this time as an opportunity to reflect, share, and rejoice within the cyclical movements of the past, present, and future. We strive for the connections made here to stimulate a flow of new relationships and creative forms with reach extending well beyond the capacity of our festival and organization.
I hope to see you again in future years as we continue the ongoing process of listening and learning. Please join me in seeking further ways of acknowledging the deep value that Indigenous voices and ways of being hold within our communities.
A message from the Artistic Director
Water is important to all living things as a support for healing, a connection to the past, and a teacher for the future. As humans we have a strong connection to water, it sustains us, and we believe that we carry that relation in ourselves, through water. sâkitawâhk.
In the last twenty years, the term two-spirit surfaced to describe a distinct form of gender and sexuality. Two-spirit people have specific roles in ceremony and cultural practices, associated with an Indigenous person who holds both masculine and feminine energy, a distinct gender status. They’ve been silenced in our history books by European colonizers who forced hate in the words recorded, removing two-spirit people, their roles and value from history. Meaning, two spirit ancestors have been existing in between the written words of history for centuries, and only included in conversations in the last few decades. This weekend celebrates their voices through collaborative performances, storytelling, film to further inclusion and celebration of two-spirit perspectives. We encourage you to walk with us and unveil truths by researching two-spirit artists, their stories and honour them through supporting their work in your community.
Our sincerest gratitude to all the storytellers, performers, filmmakers, and volunteers who shared their voices and talents in the formation of this year’s festival.