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Spirit Song festival showcasing Indigenous music and art kicks off in St. John’s

todayNovember 21, 2023 2

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Fans and dancers take the stage alongside performers during last year’s Spirit Song Festival in St. John’s. (Submitted by Daniel Smith)

First Light’s Spirit Song Festival is back for its 11th year beginning on Tuesday, showcasing Indigenous music, art and more from across Canada.

The festival runs from Tuesday to Sunday in St. John’s, and will feature over 60 Indigenous creatives from across the country. It started as a small event in St. John’s a decade ago, but Elder Emma Reelis of Happy Valley-Goose Bay said it’s great to see how it has grown over the years.

“Every year it gets bigger and bigger,” Reelis told CBC News Tuesday.

“I’m just really pleased, you know, that we are here today after 11 years,” added Charlotte Winters-Fost of Hopedale. “There’s been a lot of growth, and I’m really looking forward to hearing many of the talented Indigenous artists that we have.”

The festivities will begin on Tuesday evening with the opening ceremonies, featuring performances from Kilatuiup Spnguninga and the St. John’s Mi’kmaq Women’s Circle.

The event will bring Indigenous people from all over North America together, which Elder Majorie Muise said is always a highlight for her.

WATCH | See what’s in store for the Indigenous celebration Spirit Song Festival: 

Billed as biggest celebration of Indigenous culture, Spirit Song Festival kicks off in St. John’s

Featured VideoNow in its 11th year, the multi-day event offers dance showcases, beading events, artist talks and more. CBC’s Ife Alaba spoke with several elders about the Spirit Song Festival and its enduring impact.

“Tonight is going to be a celebration mostly of our own communities coming together. Our local communities, so that’s going to be really awesome,” Muise said. “And throughout the festival is going to be like a celebration of contemporary and traditional.”

Many events are open to all ages, which Reelis says is part of what defines the festival. She says events like Spirit Song are key in connecting youth with Indigenous culture.

“I think our youth is our today, and our future. I think we need to … get them more involved in things like this to learn more about the culture. Because it sort of went to the wayside with residential [schools] and the Sixties Scoop,” she said.

“A lot of the culture was lost, and I think through Spirit Song it’s all coming back.”

A schedule of events can be found on the Spirit Song Festival Facebook page.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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