Proudly located on the traditional, un-ceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, Full Circle: First Nations Performance presents the 17th annual Talking Stick Festival on February 14-24, 2018 at various venues in Vancouver. Drawing meaning from the salmon’s journey to their spawning grounds, 2018’s Talking Stick Festival is aptly named Scháyilhen (S-ch-eye-yay-lh-un), which translates literally to “Salmon Going Up River,” and speaks to the journey the community is taking towards embracing and celebrating Indigenous art forms and practices.

Known as a place of gathering for over 18,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous attendees alike, the festival features 11 days of traditional and contemporary visual arts, film, theatre, dance, and music.

2018 Highlights:

SOKALO, a vibrant work by [ZØGMA], a professional percussive dance company hailing from Quebec, shares their cultural diversity by combining music and choreography with a contemporary approach and aesthetic to folklore. Collaborating with Vancouver’s Louis Riel Metis Dancers, they merge song and dance into a powerful rhythmic work. February 16 and 18 at 7pm.

SCHÁYILHEN INDUSTRY SERIES is a four-day forum which invites artists, presenters, and audiences to discuss ways in which we can strengthen and further the development of Indigenous Arts. February 16-19; requires advance registration.

MAP OF LAND, MAP OF THE STARS by Gwaandak Theatre (Yukon) tells the story of how the gold rush and the Alaska Highway changed connections between land and sky, through theatre, dance, and music. February 20 at 7pm, February 21 at 1pm and 7pm, and February 22 at 1pm.

REEL RESERVATIONS: CINEMATIC INDIGENOUS SOVEREIGNTY SERIES, curated by Colin Van Loon consists of three days of short and feature films showcasing the creative work of Indigenous artists. In the Reel Indigenuity! Mentorship Program, Indigenous youth are paired with established filmmakers to create short films over a 2-3 day period, entirely using an iPhone and Snapchat. These 1-2 minute length films will be screened at the Reel Reservations Opening Night Gala on February 22 at 7:30pm.

THEATRE FOR THE YOUNG AND YOUNG AT HEART! Two works are geared to audiences in Kindergarten to Grade Six. Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish by Axis Theatre Company plays February 17 at 12pm and 3pm. The new work, Salmon Girl by Raven Spirit Dance plays February 20-23 at 10am and 1pm and February 24 at 2pm.

CELEBRATION OF POWWOW CULTURE is one of the festival’s most popular events, gathering hundreds of people of all ages each year. Enjoy a display of traditional and contemporary dance exhibitions, join in the inter-tribal dances, and shop at the Aboriginal Artisan Fair, which includes exhibits and the sale of arts, crafts, music, and food. February 24, 12pm-5pm.

METIS KITCHEN PARTY invites you to tap your feet to the sound of the fiddle while the jiggers showcase some “fancy steps.” Learn traditional Metis crafts with hands-on, interactive workshops, or browse the vendors’ displays for Metis art. Sunday February 18, 1-4pm.

FROM TALKING STICK TO MICROPHONE is a slam-dunkin’ evening of spoken word and music. Be prepared for a selection of Canada’s best independent musicians and slam poets going head to head. February 23, 8pm.

MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE includes our Wax holks en Shqalawin (Open Your Hearts) Gala (February 15, 7pm) and the wildly popular Kw’iyilshswit Cabaret (February 24 8pm).


About Full Circle: Established in 1992 by Margo Kane (Cree/Saulteaux nation), Full Circle is a registered Canadian non-profit, Indigenous Arts organization that provides a platform for Indigenous artists to create, work, and train in the Arts. They engage the community in year-round Indigenous programs (Moccasin Trek: Arts on the Move!, Indian Acts and the Aboriginal Ensemble) in addition to their annual signature event, the Talking Stick Festival. 

Tickets $5-45, VIP Pass $60-90. Some events are pay what you can.

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