2020 Talking Stick Festival

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The Talking Stick Festival (“TSF”) runs February 18-29, 2020, featuring theatrical performances, music, dance, film, and a visual art exhibit. It’s a vibrant celebration of Indigenous artistry, expertise, talent and knowledge from around the world.

2020 Talking Stick Festival

When: February 18-29, 2020
Where: Various venues throughout Vancouver
Tickets: Available Here

The 2020 festival theme is Chén̓chenstway, a Squamish word that translates as “upholding each other, lifting each other up”.

The festival opens with Wa× hoks en Shqalawin (Open Your Hearts) Opening Gala, featuring a range of exciting festival performers. RISING —Chén̓chenstway Visual Arts Exhibit showcases the work of gifted Indigenous artists working in a variety of mediums.

Theatre and Dance

Tlakentli Dance-Theatre from Québec’s Productions Ondinnok (February 21-23, Roundhouse) tells of two Indigenous artists from Mexico, of Nahua and Mixteco descent, as they share their quest for identity by drawing on their cultures and the history of their ancestors; Matriarchs Uprising 1 & 2,curated by Olivia Davies, O.Dela Arts is a powerhouse presentation of contemporary dance and visual artistry from Australia, Canada and New Zealand in two not-to-be-missed evening programs (February 21, 22, Cultch); Isitwendam (An Understanding) from Ontario examines the collateral damage of the Residential School system through a one-person multidisciplinary theatrical exploration (February 26-29, Roundhouse).

For the all-ages theatre audiences, Axis Theatre’s Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish is Joseph Dandurand’s engaging tale from the Kwantlen First Nations Village of Squa’lets about Th’owxiya, an old and powerful spirit (February 18-21, Cultch & Musqueam). The festival also welcomes dance presentations Bloom from Mascall Dance (February 25), Raven Spirit Dance’s Confluence (February 26), and Virago Nation’s Royaltease (February 28) at various venues.


In a stellar double bill, the JUNO-winning global blues of Digging Roots shares the stage with singer-songwriter Logan Staats, winner of CBC’s The Launch. The festival is thrilled to present folk and women’s music icon, Ferron, who performs for two nights at the York Theatre w/ Ms. Pan!k and w/ M’Girl.

The Pop Up Musical Bistro offers an entertainment-filled evening of story, music and word featuring Ostwelve and others, and The Stew Jams AfterParty is a feel-good night of good vibes and Coast Salish hip hop.

Shows for Young Audiences and Families

Sing, Dance, Tell Me A Story! (Family Fun Day) at the Cultch is a full afternoon of fun times with TeePee Theatre, Hoop dance storyteller Jessica McMann, Fancy dancer Nyla Carpentier, and Our Creation Story from Mortal Coil and Tsatsu Stalqayu (Coastal Wolf Pack); UNYA’s #Indigenuity: Concrete Smudge showcases the work of emerging artists from the young urban Indigenous community . Every age can enjoy the popular Celebration of Powwow Culture event with the Indigenous Artisan Fair, and the music and dance-filled Métis Fair, curated by Marion Gonneville.


A Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk is Zacharias Kunuk’s (Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner) latest film about the effects of the forcing of nomadic Inuit families into permanent housing. The Coyote Way: (Going) Back Home is a short sci‐fi/docu-narrative film about a young boy’s hard choices, from Director Missy Whiteman, and FUKRY tells the story of Ching Yazzie and friends’ ups and downs, from Director Blackhorse Lowe. The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw is about dreams, choices, realities and family, with a few laughs along the way. Director: Shelley Niro.

There’s also Slam poetry + Indigenous drag + evocative theatrical readings + traditional drum groups = something for everyone!

For more information follow Talking Stick Festival on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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