Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre

Can wisdom save the world?

The post-apocalyptic, not-so-distant-future world of The Unplugging, an award-winning play by Canadian playwright Yvette Nolan, is the latest production on offer from the Yukon-based Gwaandak Theatre.

It’s ice pool time

The ice pool tripod is in the river, anchored by a cable to the boxed clock on the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre, ready for when the ice moves during breakup some time in late April or early May. The tripod is on the ice between the river bank and the unofficial ice road. It may …

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We are what we used to eat

February 19 to 22 will see the latest edition of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Heritage Department’s bi-annual Myth and Medium week.

Symposium to discuss activating history

Every two years the Yukon Historical & Museums Association holds a meeting for the entire Yukon heritage community. It moves around the territory, but executive director Lianne Maitland says that one of the places they like to come back to is Dawson City. The 2017 Heritage Symposium, called Activating Our Communities, will take place on …

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Celebrate the Art of Filmmaking this Weekend

The cupboard behind Dan Sokolowski’s head is still covered with the multi-coloured Post-it notes he’s been using to assign the 86 short films in this year’s Dawson City International Short Film Festival to various categories for Friday, Saturday and Sunday screenings that will fill up this Easter Weekend. The films were selected by a group …

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Starting Conversations through Art with A Dawson City Scrapbook

When you think of comics, you may think of superheroes or lovable scruffy dogs. But Rebecca Roher says comics are not only pulpy and light. Roher is a cartoonist, illustrator and educator. Comics, she says, can be used to start conversations about serious topics. “People are maybe more open to a comic, while other forms …

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Comics are the People’s Medium

Anyone can make comics, and they are mass produced and traded for cheap. That’s the message Jonathan Rotsztain brought to Dawson City during his art residency with KIAC. Rotsztain describes himself as a “graphic designer who makes comics. “I’m a writer before a drawer, but I never found writing on its own that compelling as …

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A Love Affair with Photography

Priska Wettstein’s love affair with photography began in 2008 when husband Paul presented her with a camera. “I don’t know why he did that,” she says, “but ever since then, I’m just hooked. So whenever I go for a walk, or drive out of town, or just need some time to myself, I grab my …

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Bringing Crowds to Dodge

The Dawson City Music Festival (DCMF) is a major draw for audience and performers. It takes place this year between July 22 and 24. Emily Farrell was a venue stage manager for 13 years, and is now in her second year as executive director of the festival. “One of the bands getting a lot of …

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Year 17 sees an abundance of Yukon Films at the Festival

On Easter weekend the ballroom of the Oddfellows Hall will be filled with hundreds of short film fans celebrating the 17th edition of the Dawson City International Short Film Festival (DCISFF) and cramming in as much as they can of the 500 hours of screen time that will fill up the days. This is the …

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Jewels on the Water

The ice is coming down in a rush this year. While there was not a sign of the stuff in the river on the day they pulled the George Black Ferry out of the Yukon on October 29, it took just a few nights of minus teens temperatures to bring small pans of the greyish …

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Myth and Medium are Coming Again

The bi-annual Myth and Medium symposium runs from February 24 to 28 this year, the week after the territorial Heritage Day holiday. Heritage Day originally inspired the idea of Myth and Medium about a decade ago. The first symposium tied in nicely with both a display of the Cameron Collection, brought here by Ken Lister …

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Exploring Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Culture

The striking Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre was controversial when it was first being built in Dawson City — it’s not exactly a gold rush themed building. But it was Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in themed, and it’s now thoroughly embedded in the Dawson waterfront scene. With its stadium seating theatre, Hammerstone Gallery, Gathering Room and gift shop, the …

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The Hordes Will Gorge on Film

The roar of the sand grinder is enough to give anyone a headache. But Dan Sokolowski, producer of the Dawson City International Short Film Festival, likes the sound. The sanding of the new ballroom floorboards is the second last step. After that is the varnishing and – fingers crossed – the ballroom will be ready …

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100 Ways to Celebrate 100 Years

“I find women in the Yukon, and Dawson in particular, an incredibly strong group,” says Penny Soderlund, a member of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Dawson Regional Women’s Committee. “There probably isn’t any other place where the majority of women own their own chainsaws.” Living in the Yukon surrounded by female cabin-builders, dog …

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Watching Ice

This is the time of year when you find people looking at the river and wondering – when? There are different “whens”, of course. I happened across some gentlemen at a table just past the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre a day or so ago. It was a beautiful afternoon and one could almost see the …

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Dawson’s Got Culture

Things generally slow down at the Dänojà Zho (Hän for Long Ago House) Cultural Centre once the summer season is over and the tourists are gone, but this fall season has been something of an exception. The place is a hotbed of activity, even in December. The building is approaching its 15th year of operation …

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A Touch of Brazil

Full disclosure: one of the most treasured albums in my vinyl collection is the 1962 Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd classic, Jazz Samba. Fuller disclosure: I’ve had a mad crush on Antônio Carlos Jobim’s “tall and tan and young and lovely” girl from Ipanema ever since Astrud Gilberto, hand-in-hand with Getz and her then-husband João …

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Remembering the Lost Patrol

One of the last big weekends of this Dawson City summer will be built around an RCMP Regimental Ball, to be held here on August 27. The force has held a number of special events and anniversary celebrations in Dawson in the past, but this one, organized to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Lost …

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A Look at Dawson’s Dike

It will have been obvious from my last column that I was truly expecting breakup to have occurred before I got around to writing the next one. It’s April 30 this afternoon, and while there has been a lot of movement on the Yukon River over the last few days, the tripod is still standing …

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Film Time

As we close in on Easter Weekend, otherwise known locally as the Dawson City International Short Film Festival (DCISFF), I have to wonder if Dawson’s obsession with amateur video doesn’t have something to do with the fact that the town has no theatre. Newcomers wouldn’t even know that there used to be one across the …

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Myth and Medium Returns to Dawson

The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in (TH) Heritage department is reviving its Myth and Medium program during the week of February 21 to 23. The program ran for two years, in 2003 and 2004. Then, as organizers Jackie Olsen, Jodi Beaumont and Sue Parsons recalled when we sat down to chat about it last week, it simply got …

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Fine Art & Space-Age Steel

If you set out to discuss knives with George Roberts, be prepared to invest some time. When it comes to the properties of various metals, exotic hardwoods, modern acrylics and animal byproducts such as ivory, bone and antler – and how to work with them – the man has an encyclopedic knowledge he’s willing to …

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A Vision Becomes a Reality at the Gathering Place

“We had a vision in the fall, last year, of building an outdoor classroom at Robert Service School,” Hän Language teacher Melissa Hawkins explained to the assembly of several hundred students, teachers, parents, and community members on a sunny Thursday, September 6. Everyone was gathered around the antler-crowned arbour-style entrance to ?enähjin Tr’ëdëk, or the …

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All Dolled Up

Sewing Our Traditions: Dolls of Canada’s North will be on display at Dawson’s Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre until September 21, held over from the centre’s regular summer season so that it can be part of a school-related program. Students at the Robert Service School (RSS) have already had one shot at doll making and the …

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Writing to be wild

“For me it’s becoming clear that I like the craft of songwriting and recording, but I love turning the light on in people,” says Shelley O’Brien. “They become so empowered. It’s their experience in nature, it’s their artist.” O’Brien launched The Soundscape Project in Victoria in April, bringing it to the Yukon in July. Described …

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Michael Mason’s Single Line

It’s a slow Sunday afternoon and Michael Mason is a little discouraged at the low turnout for his one-man art show at the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Community Hall. It probably doesn’t help that there’s work being done on the roof of the building and the entrance looks a bit like a construction zone. Mason muses that …

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Journeying Through Dance

This week, Dawson City welcomes back Raven Spirit Dance, which has enjoyed a well-established presence in town for several years. Choreographer Michelle Olson is somewhat of a part-time Dawsonite herself and member of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation. She has previously created two pieces that were performed at the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre. This summer …

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Reconnecting Severed Bonds

Kenneth T. Williams had never heard of his distant cousin, Lillian Dyck, until 1999, when he was asked to suggest names of suitable Saskatchewan candidates for the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement award. He first approached another cousin, a well-known writer and aboriginal historian, who told him, “No, no, no. Don’t nominate me. I …

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