Haida Storyteller Kung Jaadee named the 2021 Indigenous Storyteller in Residence at VPL
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Haida storyteller, educator and published author Kung Jaadee has been named the 2021 Indigenous Storyteller in Residence at the Vancouver Public Library.
Originally from the village of Old Massett, Haida Gwaii, Kung Jaadee belongs to the X̱aayda (Haida), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations. Since 1996, Kung Jaadee has performed for hundreds of audiences across Canada and the U.S. Through her writing and storytelling, she has taught the Haida language to both children and adults alike, helping to preserve and revitalize her ancestral dialect. Kung Jaadee means ‘Moon Woman’ in Xaad Kil, a traditional name given to her by her cousin Crystal Robinson at the memorial potlatch honouring her great uncle in August 2008.
During her time at VPL, Kung Jaadee will be working on a three-part play about her Indigenous identity and how the smallpox epidemic affected her Haida Gwaii ancestors and Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island. She will also use library resources to delve deeper in her research of Squamish and Musqueam cultures, languages and legends.
“I did not choose to be a storyteller. It chose me,” says Kung Jaadee. “For decades, performing for audiences of all ages across Canada has allowed me to share traditional Haida legends and my own personal stories from my birthplace, Haida Gwaii.
I’m honoured to be taking on this new role and sharing Indigenous culture and teachings with the diverse Vancouver community.”
In the coming months, Kung Jaadee is planning a number of online programs for all ages at the library, bringing Indigenous storytelling to the Vancouver public. These events are aimed at encouraging intercultural dialogue and include: storytelling workshops and performances, drumming and singing circles, and more.
Created in 2008, the VPL program promotes intercultural understanding and story sharing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.
Meet Kung Jaadee at an online welcome event on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. For more details, see vpl.ca/storyteller.
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