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August 01, 2018

Haida Stories and Songs with Kung Jaadee

Written by Alyssah Pointon and Rekha Pavanantharajah, ArtStarts in Schools

This year’s June weekend programming was held in recognition of National Indigenous People’s Day and we were so lucky to share in this day with the extraordinary Haida storyteller, Kung Jaadee.

Kung Jaadee opened her performance with a warm welcome in her traditional Haida language. As she spoke in her traditional language we felt the warmth and power in her message.

This performance was a special one. The audience listened while Kung Jaadee took the time to share the origins of her name. As she shared her story, we quickly learned that Kung Jaadee means “Moon Woman” in Haida. Kung Jaadee spoke about the importance of being able to speak her language, because it wasn’t long ago in Canadian history when it was illegal to speak in her traditional language. Imagine not being to say your name out loud in your own language? This was a crucial moment of reflection for us, particularly on National Indigenous People’s Day. The audience witnessed her strength and resilience as she stood in front of them sharing her story today, and speaking in her language.

Kung Jaadee transitioned effortlessly into a story and song as she began to sing two beautiful Raven songs while playing her hand drum. She taught the audience how to say the word “Raven” in Haida. It was so that we could listen to the word as it was woven into the stories about traditional people seeing and hearing the Raven speak wisdom to them.

Kung Jaadee’s farewell greeting was a reminder to love ourselves.

When Kung Jaadee isn’t busy publishing books about traditional Haida legends, she travels the province performing in schools across B.C. bringing her passion for her culture and language to young audiences. If you are inspired by her work and want to bring her to your school, please visit here.   

Thank you to Kung Jaadee for celebrating National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with us and for sharing your stories and songs.


Please consider reading a call to action each day to unpack what your civic response to these calls will be.

Truth and Reconciliation Commision of Canada’s Calls to Action


Tune in to see Gord Grdina on Aug 25 & 26!

The downtown gallery also has ArtStart Explores almost every Saturday at 11am that we would love to see you at.

ArtStarts in Schools is seeking a world where art is considered an essential part of educating our young people. Visit here for our full calendar of events

Did you know?

Having an arts program as part of a curriculum has benefits not only for children taking the program, but for their future and for society in general. Nurturing creativity in all forms, helps everyone to reach their full potential, which goes beyond the school years.

Thank you to our incredible supporters, Westminster Savings and the City of Vancouver who shares our vision and helps make this program possible.

We need more champions though! For as little as $10 you can help keep our family programs free for everybody. If you believe access to art experiences should continue to be free, would you consider chipping in $10? Your gift will be used immediately towards our costs for free family programming. Thank you!

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