The Coastal First Nations Dance Festival is a celebration of the stories, songs, and dances of indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast.
Presented by Dancers of Damelahamid at the Great Hall in The Museum of Anthropology March 6 – 10, the festival includes a wide range of performances. This is a taste of B.C. and the Pacific Northwest that is too unique and special to pass up.
Internationally lauded artists are coming to Vancouver from communities throughout Canada, including B.C., Manitoba, Yukon and Manitoba, as well as from U.S. states Alaska and Washington, to participate in the sixth annual festival. Metis jiggers, Inuit throat singers, Prairie hoop dancers and Chinook song catchers are some of the performers who will don traditional garb and perform in the Museum of Anthropology’s Great Hall.
Members of the Gitxsan (“people of the river of mists”) tribe founded The Dancers of Damelahamid in the 1960s out of a need to ensure that the knowledge of their ancestors was not lost. According to Gitxsan history, Damelahamid is the original city where the first ancestors were placed on earth from heaven. The Gitxsan are part of the coastal group of cultures that have the distinctive button blanket regalia.
Since forming, the Dancers of Damelahamid have kept traditional Gitxsan culture alive while creating new pieces that draw on their ancestral culture. Through dramatic dance, captivating narrative, intricately carved masks and elaborate regalia, the Dancers of Damelahamid bridge the ancient with a living tradition.
Besides the Dancers of Damelahamid, this year’s line-up includes a range of returning audience favourites as well as first-time festival performers. Among the performers scheduled are Spakwus Slolem, Dakhká Khwáan, Git Hayetsk Dancers, Nukariik, Rainbow Creek Dancers, Alex Wells, Git-Hoan Dancers, Kwhlii Gibaygum, Kwa Kwa Ka Wakw, and Yvonne Chartrand with Compaigni V’ni Dansi.
In addition to signature evening performances, the Coastal First Nations Dance Festival includes afternoon festival stage events and school workshops.
For additional information on the festival, please visit damelahamid.ca.
The Museum of Anthropology is located at 6393 N.W. Marine Drive.