Dawson City, Yukon
The Hän Singers have been actively singing as a group since the mid-1990s and include members of all ages, performing in small and large ensembles. The history of the songs sung by the Hän Singers extends back to a time when people moved about the land for food, trade, and potlatches. In the early 1900s, Chief Isaac, the most influential Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in leader, foresaw that his people were going to lose an important part of their culture: the songs and dances. Elders tell stories of how Chief Isaac gave the Hän songs to Alaskan people for safekeeping. Almost 80 years later, Elder Archie Roberts was the only one who knew some Hän songs when Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in had their first Moosehide Gathering in 1993. Since that time, Alaskan Elders Laura Sanford, Titus David, Larry Jonathan, Kenny Thomas Sr., Jerry Isaac, and their family members came forward to assist Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in in reviving traditional songs from Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Traditional Territory. Since Moosehide Gathering 2006, the group has received two new songs. Songs continue to be reclaimed and revitalized, and new ones created as well.
Today, the Hän Singers are a vibrant group of youth, adults, and Elders who are dedicated to culture and way of life. The Hän Singers have performed all over the Yukon at countless gatherings, events, ceremonies, and celebrations. They have also traveled to Alaska to perform at the Fairbanks Native Arts Festival for the past two years. Visitors and locals like are consistently impressed by the passion, talent, and joy of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Hän Singers. We are honoured to once again have Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in welcome Dawson City Music Festival within their beautiful Traditional Territory.