I’m a settler in Canada today because of the 1918 flu pandemic that broke my great-grandmother’s heart.
I become a grandma during this pandemic
Stitching the corners of my story-quilt to here, now, tomorrow
Our journey together on this earth.
From the English village of Slough – on moist unstable ground…
To the trenches of France in World War I
The Spanish Flu pandemic that broke my great grandmother’s heart
Across the Atlantic Ocean to Canada
Across Canada to the Pacific Ocean
a family farm in Armstrong, British Columbia,
A café in the Fraser Valley
on unceded First Nations territories
My own migrations and new life in the north
The big beautiful Gwich’in family I’ve come to know
Still connected to the Porcupine caribou, the land, the waters
Whose lands and resources have I benefitted from?
As I hold my grandson – what does my DNA hold, carry, and pass on to future generations?
What is the work I still need to do?
What is the work all of us need to do?
Written and produced by Patti Flather
Original Music by Jeremy Parkin
Dramaturgy by Vicki Stroich
Graphic Design by Jenna Roebuck/Kith & Kin
Port Haney, BC street scene with Knox Cafe, 1930. Courtesy of Maple Ridge Museum and Archives, P01062
I acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, CBC/Radio Canada and the @YAC Residency.
My family in England early 1900s
Grandview Flats, Armstrong, BC
Chasan Chua McIntyre Creek Whitehorse Yukon
Vuntut Gwitchin Stories
Ndoo Tr’eedyaa Gogwaandak (Forward Together)
Honouring age-old storytelling traditions and Indigenous Gwich’in language revitalization from the north Yukon’s Vuntut Gwitchin.
Experience free radio play podcasts and script booklets in both Gwich’in and English, adapted from both long ago and contemporary stories here. Learn the story behind the stories.
Discover long ago stories: Shanaghàn Neekaii Nanaa’in Hah –Two Old Women and the Bushman and the Vah Srigwehdli’ – The One Who Survived.
…Along with more contemporary tales:Tl’oo Thał – Grass Pants and Ch’iitsii Khał Datl’oo – The Blue Cruiser.
“These radio plays and script booklets are part of an innovative multi-year project that honours age-old storytelling traditions and Indigenous language revitalization.
The Van Tat Gwich’in — “People of the Lakes,” referring to the Crow Flats area — are renowned storytellers, and do they ever have stories to tell. After all, they have survived for thousands of years in one of the toughest northern climates around. Their traditional territory in the north Yukon is vast, beautiful and unforgiving.”
– From Our Journey, Forward Together
This collaborative storytelling project with Vuntut Gwitchin Government, Gwaandak Theatre, Elders and Gwich’in language champions, community members and theatre artists was a 2019 Yukon Heritage Award winner. Patti Flather was a co-creator.
These Vuntut Stories were featured in a CBC Ideas episode with former host Paul Kennedy which aired nationally in 2019. Find an article about it HERE. We shared excerpts of the plays at The Old Fire Hall in Whitehorse, in shows filled with Gwich’in language and laughter.
This project advocates and promotes greater appreciation of and support for revitalization of Gwich’in and other endangered Indigenous languages among all peoples. These languages hold traditional knowledge and perspectives and are treasures that we all must fight for. We call on the federal government to act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action 13 through 17 on Language and Culture.
2022-2023 is the International Decade of Indigenous Languages as declared by UNESCO, to draw global attention on the critical situation of many indigenous languages and to mobilize stakeholders and resources for their preservation, revitalization and promotion.
Yukon Digital Stories
In development with Yukon Digital Theatre Collective. Featuring free digital stories from Yukon creators and collaborators– audio plays, spoken word, audiovisuals, original sound designs, interactive journeys, and more. Along with live events.
With the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.