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FIRST STORIES - Tales from Turtle Island

FIRST STORIES - Tales from Turtle Island

By Matthew Dyck
Join us around the fire to hear the voices and stories of the original peoples of Turtle Island as told by Indigenous storytellers from across the land.

Brought to you by Connections Community Services' Indigenous Led Outreach and Support Program. With support from The Gulf of Georgia Cannery, The Richmond Public Library, and the Province of British Columbia.

First Stories was created and produced by Matthew Dyck.

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Christine Mackenzie - Kwakiutl/Heiltsuk
Hello my name is Christine Mackenzie and I am a First Nation Artist, I was born in Kelowna BC. My mother was born in Bella Coola BC we are from the Eagle clan. My mother was apart of the Sixties Scoop and because of that I had a hard time trying to find our culture and identity. I grew up in south western British Columbia, in the Coast Salish traditional territories. I find inspiration in the natural world and in the eyes of people willing to learn and share cultural ideas. I enjoy working with traditional/contemporary design and with multiple mediums. I have been doing art all my life, but professional Artist and Facilitator since 2009 and mentored by Haida Artist Anastasia Hendry she was an artist and Facilitator for 30 plus year and has since retired. I now help others in there journey to self identity. I have worked with many school districts and youth/family organizations in Chilliwack, Surrey, Langley, Vancouver (North, West and Downtown), Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam/Coquitlam, Richmond, New Westminster, Boston Bar, The Yukon, Dease Lake, Telaghaph Creek and Atlin. I have been a part of five art shows and have illustrated/co written three books. I have created many custom pieces for organization, Transit Police creating a Indigenous Logo to help connect communities and will be displayed on all the vehicles, "My Child" to Connections Community Services Richmond representing Orange Shirt day long term loan, Holiday decor for Vancouver Convention Center over 20 wood burnt pallet trees that range from 4ft x 3ft to 6ft x 8ft, Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site non for profit Welcoming the Sun logo and a custom long term loan piece "Salmon's connection to Mother Earth", insulation piece for International Vancouver Children's Arts Festival to honour women, TCCAT logo and Mural to help bring awareness to the overdose crisis, custom drums including glow in the dark drums, carvings, sensory paths, murals and much more.
August 16, 2021
Elaine Alec - Syilx/Secwepemc
Elaine is from the Syilx (Okanagan) Nation and Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation and is a member of the Penticton Indian Band in the Interior of British Columbia. ​ She has been a political advisor, Chief of Staff for the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, Community Planner for her own First Nation, employee for the Province of BC and Federal Government and Entrepreneur. Elaine has spent over 20 years in over 100 communities across Canada to promote healing and wellness. She is a partner of an Indigenous owned and operated planning company called Alderhill Planning Inc. Elaine is a first-time author of “Calling My Spirit Back” a memoir about growing up as an Indigenous girl in Canada and the impacts of colonization. It also provides Indigenous knowledge, teachings on how to cultivate safe spaces for diversity and inclusion.
August 2, 2021
Mike Dangeli - Nisga'a/Tsimshian/Tlingit
Mike Dangeli is of the Nisga’a, Tlingit, Tsetsaut, and Tsimshian Nations. He is a carver and artist whose work continues and expands upon ancient art forms in order to challenge commonly held assertions concerning aboriginal art and identity. His work reflects his position as a 21st Century First Nations person and all the cultural influences, mainstream and otherwise, that make up his lived experience as a person who is heavily involved in his people’s ceremonies. Working as primarily a commissioned based artist, Mike has created his art for commissions, galleries, and ceremonial pieces for his community. Mike’s works include masks, drums, regalia, paintings, and limited edition silk-screened prints. Mike has completed twenty totem poles and a thirty-foot ocean going canoe. Mike is also an accomplished singer, songwriter, and dancer. In partnership with his wife Mique’l Dangeli, he leads the Git Hayetsk, an internationally renowned First Nations dance group based in Vancouver, BC. Mike and Mique’l has performed, held lectures, workshops, and carving demonstration in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, British Columbia, Ontario, Yukon, Manitoba, Austria, Malaysia, Germany and Japan. Mike has carved over 30 of the masks performed by their group. Their focus is to share the songs and dances of their ancestors as well as compose and choreograph new ones to reflect the challenges and victories of their experiences as First Nations people today.
July 26, 2021
Henry Schooner - Nuxalk/Tsleil Waututh
Henry Schooner (Q’puts) is a proud Nuxalk (from Bella Coola) and Tsleil Waututh (Burrard) family man, father of four beautiful miracles, and has been in a committed relationship with his partner, Pepper, for 17 years. Henry has worked as an Indigenous Support Worker for the North Vancouver School District for the past 5 years but has worked with youth of all ages for the past 23 years, following his passion and using his gifts and cultural teachings to do so. With the permission of cultural teachers in Bella Coola, Henry has been sharing stories, songs, dances, and games with Kindergarten to Grade 7 youth. Coaching is another passion that Henry has followed for the past 7 years, starting with soccer and now mostly basketball, passing on teachings from his own coaches, personal experiences and coaching training. Also, having completed years of personal growth and healing work with his partner allows Henry to live, work and teach more authentically.
July 19, 2021
Rayette Marsden - Gitxsan
Rayette Marsden is an expressive story writer and artist. She is a lifelong enthusiast of learning about her traditions and evoking her art with the spirit and blessing of her ancestors. She is a proud Gitxsan person and member of the Frog Clan. Rayette holds a traditional name within her community, Luxxgiyok, and while she was raised in a modern sense, Rayette is rediscovering the richness and depth of her personal history and connection with the traditional Gitxsan culture that she loves. She happily resides in Vancouver, although far from her beloved traditional foods, she holds the memories of growing up around her grandparents’ convenience store that helped and fed the entire village, both traditional and contemporary goods. Those who are interested in Rayette’s writing and stories, who may like to invite her to speak or share her beautiful art can contact her through email at She is happy to provide talks to classroom groups or podcasts, along with her written works and art of the spirit, as she walks the gentle path and and answers the questions of life that the Creator puts before her.  Rayette would like to give special thanks to Rob Hunter for helping with her bio. Research support for episode 4 by Nancy Tse.  Highway 16 information voiced by Vanessa Chow.
July 12, 2021
Nicole Hurley -St’at’imc Nation
Kalhwá7alap (hello),my name is Nicole Hurley I am from the St’at’imc Nation in the Southern Interior of B.C. I’ve spent my school years in Coquitlam, BC where I reside today! I am a college student currently in my BA for Social Work with a double minor in Criminology and Indigenous Studies. My hope is to go forward with my degree and work within the indigenous community. I enjoy spending time in Mother Nature and spending time with the people dearest to me! Tákem nsnekwnúkw7a (All my relations)
July 5, 2021
Kung Jaadee - Haida
Kung Jaadee (jah-day) is a professional storyteller, educator and published author belonging to the X̱aayda (Haida),  xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations. Her Haida name, Kung Jaadee, means ‘Moon Woman’ and was presented to her at her great uncle’s memorial feast by her cousin Crystal Robinson. Over the past 28 years, Kung Jaadee has performed traditional Haida legends, while also sharing vivid personal stories about her clan's survival of the smallpox epidemic, and  the history and culture of her people. She has performed at hundreds of festivals, schools and Aboriginal celebrations across Canada. She is the author of  the popular children's books, Raven's Feast and Gifts from Raven (selected as a Local BC Book to Read), as well as curriculum textbooks, Haida Nation: Indigenous Communities in Canada and We Are Home. Her stories have also been published in several anthologies, magazines and online publications. Most recently, Kung Jaadee worked as the Vancouver Public Library's Indigenous Storyteller in Residence. While living in Haida Gwaii, she taught X̱aad Kil, the Haida language while working with the Old Masset Village Council,  at Chief Matthews School and the Haida Health Centre in Gaw Tlagee. Kung Jaadee holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and minor in Women's Studies from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta. For Performance Inquiries, Click Here
June 28, 2021
Dennis Allen - Inupiat/Gwich’in
It's hard to peg Dennis Allen as exclusively a filmmaker, or a musician, or a writer. Rather, Dennis weaves between all three with ease and comfort. From a long line of traditional Inuit story-tellers, Dennis took this ancient folk art of storytelling and shape-shifted it into award winning films, poignant songs, and dramatic writing. Winner of the Alanis Obomsawin Best Documentary Award; The Sally Manning Award for Non-Fiction Writing, and an Honorable Mention from the American Songwriter's Competition, Dennis is a talented artist and gifted storyteller. DENNIS ALLEN'S WEBSITE
June 21, 2021