For the past month, BYTE has been on the road visiting communities around the Yukon with indigenous musicians from Colombia. It was all part of the Eagles and Condors project, which was a partnership between the Northern Cultural Expressions Society and BYTE to bring together indigenous peoples from the northern and southern hemispheres to exchange music, stories, and cultures.
According the ancient Eagle and the Condor prophecy, the indigenous peoples of the northern and southern hemispheres are about to embark on a new period of collaboration and harmony. This project was just one manifestation of this. You can learn more about the Eagle and the Condor prophecy here.
BYTE’s Community Outreach Coordinator Natalie Sands helped facilitate creative workshops in Ross River, Teslin, and Whitehorse. The workshops taught youth and adults how to make Colombian flutes, hand drums, and maracas. In exchange, the hosts—the Kaska Dena in Ross River and the Teslin Tlingit in Teslin—shared some of their own traditions with the Colombian visitors, like stick gambling and drumming.
Natalie says that she was touched by the generosity of the hosts in each community and their enthusiasm to share their culture.
“It was an honour to be included and to be able to witness the knowledge exchange between the indigenous peoples of the north and of the south,” says Natalie. “It was very inspiring to see the depth of similarities between the northern and southern indigenous cultures.”
Natalie also says she’s glad she got to make new connections in Yukon communities and practice her Spanish with the Columbian visitors along the way.
The entire project came to the fore on Tuesday night with a collaborative performance featuring the All Nations Dancers, Ecka Janus, the Kaska Dena Drummers, and the Grupo Putumayo, the Colombian musicians. The Kwanlin Dun Centre was a full house on Tuesday evening as community members from across the Yukon gathered to witness and take part in the final performance.
Thanks goes to the Northern Cultural Expressions Society, The Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre, the Ross River Dena Council, the Teslin Tlingit Council and Latinos En El Yukon for their support in this project!