Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Traditional Dancers

The Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Traditional Dancers is a family-run group, established in Vancouver since 2007, and is one of the forerunners in the First Nation Cultural receptive industry. We are a family-run group that is geared to social enterprise; we are here to help many of our Nisga’a learn their culture and language through song and dance. Many of our members are on a limited income, so we help with regalia making or for cultural travel by offering many performances throughout the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

Keane Tait is the Artistic Director, and is a prominent figure in the Nisga’a Traditional scene, and co-founder of Radiating Ravens Apparel, he is a Traditional Weaver. Keane was born in Terrace, BC. His Nisga’a name is Wal-aks, coming from the House of Axdii Wil Luu-Gooda of the Git-Wilt’uuts’kwhl Aks Clan of the Raven / Frog tribe among the Nisga’a People; and currently resides in Vancouver / Ts’amiks. Keane Wal-aks is fluent in the Nisga’a language and french, he also takes pride in learning other languages. From childhood he has been taught the traditional values of his culture and oral history of his people by his mom, many aunts and uncles, but above all by his late grandmother, Addie Tait and his late grandfather Tom Tait. Keane is an accomplished Gwiis Maakskw (lit. Wearing White) weaver. He started out learning Salish Weaving from the Musqueam weaver Debra Sparrow, and Wal-aks is now an accomplished Northern Geometric/Raven's Tail (Gwiis Maakskw) Weaver.

Twenty years of leading experience has given Keane a certain status as an innovator in the national cultural industry. Prior to him leading the Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Traditional Dance group, along with his mom they were the co-founders of the Gitlaxdax Nisga’a Cultural Dancers – Terrace Nisga’a Cultural Dancers, he was only 16 years of age when he started.

The Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga'a are a dynamic, high energetic group of performers who incorporate the stories, songs & dances of their W̓ahlingigat (Ancestors) into contemporary performances. Every dance member, can trace their ancestry to the Nisga’a, from Ksi-Lisims, the Nass River. The Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Traditional Dance group brings innovation and creativity to the table; we take our cultural and traditional roles very much to heart for our various performances whether for a conference or recreational audience. Many of our songs are from time before memory, some songs are new, we also have mask dances, and children’s songs that record a time in history.

 

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