An incredible celebration of Indigenous arts and culture rises up each summer along the banks of the Yukon River in Whitehorse, Yukon on the self-governed lands of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.
“Adäka” means coming into the light in Southern Tutchone—one of eight Yukon First Nations languages. The Adäka Cultural Festival shines a bright light on the strength, culture and courage of Indigenous peoples in the North.
In 2022, immediately following the Arctic Arts Summit, the 10th Adäka festival begins. Over 200 Indigenous performing and visual artists from across northern Canada and the circumpolar region share stellar programming with local, national and international audiences.
The road to Adäka is a story decades in the making. In the early 1990s, Yukon First Nations (YFN) Elders sparked conversations around the need for cultural reclamation and revitalization alongside the land claim negotiations underway. Nearly 20 years later, the seeds of Adäka were planted with the YFN 2010 presentation at the Vancouver Olympics. A year later, Adäka was born, with over 100 visual and performing artists participating—and an audience of 2,000. Every festival since has showcased emerging and established artists from each of the 14 YFNs and beyond, while providing important training and mentorship opportunities for emerging artists.
By Christine Prescott and Patti Flather