For Imme­di­ate Release

As part of the 20th Anniver­sary of the TALKING STICK FESTIVAL Sea­son of Four Fires


Free online at

April 29 – May 1, 2021

For the 20th Anniversary of the Talking Stick Festival in 2021, Full Circle: First Nations Performance calls to the Four Directions and All Our Relations to gather around Four Fires, in each season: winter, spring, summer, and fall. It began earlier this year with The Winter Lodge: Sitting with our Ancestors – performances and teachings presented online from February 18–27, 2021.

Com­ing up, from April 29-May 1, Talk­ing Stick invites you to the warm­ing fire of Spring Awak­en­ing. It’s a sea­son where new ideas bloom — a cel­e­bra­tion of Indige­nous per­for­mance and cul­ture online with music, dance, spo­ken word, teach­ings and more.

Thurs­day, April 29 at 6pm: Plant Walk with Cease Wyss and Mar­go Kane

T’uy’t’­tanat Cease Wyss is an eth­no-botanist, media artist, edu­ca­tor, and activist of Skwxwu7mesh/Stó:lō/ Hawaiian/​Swiss ances­try who has been tra­di­tion­al­ly trained by Indige­nous Knowl­edge Keep­ers and Elders. On a recent sun­ny spring day, she led fes­ti­val Artis­tic Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, Mar­go Kane, on a jour­ney of botan­i­cal dis­cov­ery through Stan­ley Park. Cease shares her exten­sive plant and for­est knowl­edge, talks about med­i­cines, tra­di­tion­al teach­ings and the inter­con­nect­ed­ness of nature and the forest.

Fri­day, April 30 at 7pm: PIQSIQ with spe­cial guest Fran­cis Bap­tiste in concert

Record­ed at the His­toric The­atre at the Cultch, Inu­it-style throat singing sis­ters Tiffany Kulik­tana Aya­lik and Kay­ley Inuk­suk Mack­ay, the duo PIQSIQ, per­form ancient tra­di­tion­al songs along with those tak­ing inspi­ra­tion from the world around them. It’s a sin­gu­lar singing style born of a hard-won skill per­pet­u­al­ly gal­va­nized by the win­ter dark­ness and haunt­ing north­ern beau­ty of Nunavut and their Yel­lowknife home, blend­ed with their love of haunt­ing melodies and oth­er­world­ly sounds. PIQSIQ per­for­mances, in align­ment with throat singing’s orig­i­nal and spon­ta­neous form, are tru­ly enthralling and unique to every show.

Open­ing the con­cert is Syilx/​Okana­gan singer-song­writer Fran­cis Bap­tiste.

Cur­rent­ly work­ing on his debut solo album, Fran­cis incor­po­rates his lan­guage, N̓syilxčn̓ — cur­rent­ly spo­ken flu­ent­ly by only 150 peo­ple — into his songwriting. 

Suzette Amaya, radio host, pro­duc­er, speak­er and role mod­el, is the evening’s MC. 

Pre­sent­ed by Talk­ing Stick in part­ner­ship with the Van­cou­ver Folk Music Fes­ti­val 

Sat­ur­day, May 1 at 7pm:  the Spring Fling Ab-Cabaret 

This live­ly event, one of the favourite parts of Talk­ing Stick Fes­ti­vals over the years, fea­tures V’ni Dan­si, a Van­cou­ver-based tra­di­tion­al Métis and con­tem­po­rary dance com­pa­ny; up-and-com­ing Indige­nous singer/​songwriter, Michelle Heyoka; alter­na­tive R&B and soul artist, Zach Saun­ders, and: Eagle Ex Machi­na, a local Van­cou­ver alt rock band led by fid­dle mas­ter Matt Cook-Con­tois (Cree). The cabaret is host­ed by ris­ing Indigiqueer pop artist, Nimk­ish.


On both Fri­day, April 30 and Sat­ur­day, May 1, the Talk­ing Stick Indus­try Series presents a vari­ety of work­shops, pan­els, dis­cus­sions, videos and teach­ings on sub­jects of use and inter­est to both up-and- com­ing and vet­er­an Indige­nous artists in a range of dis­ci­plines. Top­ics include writ­ing for the stage, artists’ per­son­al and com­mu­ni­ty devel­op­ment-relat­ed issues, lega­cy build­ing, song­writ­ing and music pub­lish­ing. (Full sched­ule on the Talk­ing Stick web­site)

Join Talk­ing Stick around the warm­ing fire of Spring Awak­en­ing — a call to the sto­ries, songs, and dances that sus­tain and renew us, that birth a spir­it of hope and heal­ing. 

And, com­ing in June – a month-long sum­mer edi­tion of Talk­ing Stick Fes­ti­val 2021.

Media Con­tact: Gwen Kallio,, 604–215-2345