Adäka Cultural Festival

The Adäka Cultural Festival is an annual celebration of First Nations culture that takes place each summer at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre on the banks of the Yukon River in Whitehorse. Adäka means “coming into the light” in the Southern Tutchone language and the festival seeks to shine a light on the creativity and culture of the Yukon’s First Nations people.

Showcasing over 150 artists, this week-long festival features a vibrant schedule of traditional and contemporary performances, artist demonstrations, an art market & gallery, workshops, cultural presentations, films, a community feast and more!

Performing artists from Yukon First Nations are joined by visiting artists from British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Alaska and Greenland to share a program of music, dance and storytelling. In addition, visitors have an opportunity to take part in hands-on workshops covering a range of traditional skills including wood and antler carving, painting, beading, moose hair tufting, Raven’s Tail weaving, traditional sewing, stained glass, knife making, birch bark basket and jewellery making, storytelling, drumming and songwriting.  

In 2017, Adäka will be preceded by the Traditional Watercraft of Canada’s North event. This project forms part of the Canada 150 Celebration – a huge nationwide series of events to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. The grounds of the S.S. Klondike riverboat in Whitehorse will provide the venue for the construction of four types of traditional watercraft – a birch bark canoe, dugout canoe, seal skin kayak and a moose skin boat. There will be opportunities for visitors to participate in workshops and see presentations and demonstrations of these indigenous crafts.

Upon completion, the boats will be moved to the Adäka festival site where they will be painted, adorned and then ceremonially launched on the Yukon River with a traditional celebration.

And, in the midst of these festivals, Canada will officially celebrate its 150th birthday on July 1st. 

In 2018, the Adäka Cultural Festival will take on a circumpolar theme to align with the International Polar Tourism Research Network Conference which will be taking place in Whitehorse the week before. In addition to a lineup of international artists from the circumpolar region, the festival will also feature a fashion show exhibiting contemporary and traditional designs.

Festival Dates

Adäka Cultural Festival - June

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