Sharing Our Stories: Indigenous Art Forms; an introduction – Featuring Indigenous artist Yummo (Isadore Charters) (Okanagan/Thompson)

Date(s) - October 16, 2014
7:00 pm - 8:45 pm

House of James

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Join us for a series of intimate Thursday evenings as we celebrate unique Mennonite and Indigenous artistic traditions. These evenings will serve as an interactive celebration in which artists share their unique giftings with the audience and present a collaborative picture of the diverse ways in which an artistic medium can bring life, give meaning, and serve to teach us more about one another.

Topics will still include storytelling, music, visual arts, sculpture, pottery, and poetry. Diversity and the highly personal perspective from which individuals seek to explore, understand, and make meaning of the world through the arts is something to be celebrated and is one of the deepest joys a community can share.

Hosted in House of James’ cozy coffee shop, each evening will feature a minimum of two artists, one from the Mennonite tradition and the other from an Indigenous tradition.

Come join us! Bring your own life experience, your questions, and your enthusiasm.


October 16:  “Indigenous Art Forms; an introduction” – Featuring Indigenous artist Yummo (Isadore Charters) (Okanagan / Thompson)

October 23“The Gift of Story” – Featuring: Louise Price, Glenda Klassen (Cree)

October 30:  “Music and Story” – Featuring Angelika Dawson and Carman McKay (Sto:lo)

November 6:  “The Gift of Poetry” – Featuring Robert Martens and Pat Christie (Dene)

Nov 13: “Songwriters and Arrangers” – Featuring Brander McDonald (Cree),  Willis Taylor (Seminole), Aaron Loewen, Darryl Klassen

About the Artists

Yummo, a former student of the Kamloops Residential School, will share his story of how art, carving, music, and the stories of his culture helped him to find healing. He is a wonderfully engaging speaker, and will bring selections of his art to illustrate his story. Yummo is also featured in the recent film Yummo Comes Home, which will be available for purchase.

Glenda Klassen is of Cree descent from the Qu’Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan, although she has spent much of her life in British Columbia. Her writing often serves as a launching pad for a more organic and traditional oral spontaneity which will include plenty of humour. Glenda is a respected elder who facilitates talking circles for women in crisis.

Louise Price was born in an Austrian refugee camp and grew up in Abbotsford. She recently completed All the Best People are in Prison, a novel based on her mother’s experience as a young girl. Louise is also the editor of Roots and Branches, the newsletter of the Mennonite Historical Society of BC.

Carman McKay is a multi-talented artist and cultural teacher who is a member of the Sto:lo people. Among his achievements are totem poles which were carved in Scotland. In exchange, Carman returned with a Scottish wife. The English translation of his Sto:lo name is Lizard Warrior.

Angelika Dawson is a well known writer of prose and song and an accomplished musician in the Fraser Valley. She has often read her short stories in public venues, and regularly performs with various musical groups. For the past number of years, she has been a vocalist in the immensely popular “Good Friday Blues” sessions at House of James.

Pat Christie is Dene Metis from Churchill, MB, and an aboriginal adoptee. Her poetry and writing depict the journey to discover self and an appreciation of the simple beauty of nature. She treasures her family and heritage and the historical gifts that need to be nurtured and left for the next seven generations. Pat has worked internationally with both prospective and landed newcomers to Canada.

Robert Martens was raised in Yarrow, and since attending Simon Fraser University, he has helped write and edit several local histories. We’re told that “he also continues to wage the battle of the losers by writing poetry in his spare time.” His poetry includes “A little Mennonite goes a long way”.

Willis Taylor (Seminole) was born in the United Kingdom and spent his childhood there. Upon crossing the ocean, he studied theatre in California, and is currently a teacher at Yale Secondary. He is an accomplished songwriter, musician, and singer. Willis currently fronts the popular band Madflower.

Brander McDonald (Cree) is an accomplished songwriter, musician, and communicator. He has recently revealed a penchant for the visual arts, at which he is quite gifted. Brander, in a former life, performed with Larry Norman of Christian rock fame.

Aron Loewen has developed a keen sense of transforming traditional Christian hymns into the blues genre. He is an accomplished guitarist who has travelled extensively and currently fronts the band Vytal Sygns.

Darryl Klassen is a local songwriter and musician. He is one of the original members of J.D. Miner. He plays guitar, and much to the consternation of his more serious musical friends, insists on incorporating the banjo into his otherwise tolerable music. 

For more information, contact Darryl Klassen by email at [email protected], by phone at 604-850-6639, or toll-free at 1-888-622-6337.

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