FIRST NATIONS STORYTELLER KUNG JAADEE
Kung Jaadee (Roberta Kennedy) is a professional storyteller, educator and published author belonging to the X̱aayda (Haida), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations. While she was born and raised in Haida Gwaii, she now resides with her family in North Vancouver on X̱wemelch'stn territory (Homulchesan), also known as the Capilano Reserve. Her Haida name, Kung Jaadee, means ‘Moon Woman’ and was presented to her at her great uncle’s memorial feast by her cousin Crystal Robinson. Over the past 27 years, Kung Jaadee has performed traditional Haida legends teaching morals about sharing, helping others and loving herself, while also sharing vivid personal stories about her clan's survival of the smallpox epidemic, the history of her people and the racism she has endured over time. She has performed at hundreds of festivals, schools, universities, museums, Aboriginal celebrations and conferences across Canada. While living in Haida Gwaii, she taught X̱aad Kil, the Haida language while working with the Old Masset Village Council, at Chief Matthews School and the Haida Health Centre in Gaw Tlagee. Kung Jaadee holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and minor in Women's Studies from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta. She is a published author of children's books, Raven's Feast and Gifts from Raven (Medicine Wheel Education), as well as K-2 curriculum book called Haida Nation: Indigenous Communities in Canada. In the spring of 2020, Rubicon will be publishing her new educational textbook for primary grades, "We Are Home." Her stories have also been published in several anthologies, magazines and online publications.
Haida stories tell of a time when the animals were people like us: the people of the air, the people of the water, the four-legged people. Humans were simply the two-legged people. The others were our brothers and sisters. They taught us how to live and be true haada-laas (good people). We survived because of their teachings.
Kung Jaadee’s stories stretch from before the beginning of time to the present day. She takes her audiences on this journey from the past to the present. It is a safe journey, and usually a fun one, using humour as much as possible with a reminder that laughter is healing. Tears are also healing, and some stories evoke these as well.
Depending on the occasion, she can perform stories about Raven creating our world; stealing the light; getting salmon; bringing fire; meeting Salmon Woman; discovering other worlds; creating the first people; and having a feast. She has several stories on other topics ranging from powerful women to a fisherman and a whale.
She uses her rattle, drum, and songs to enhance her stories, usually alternating by telling a story, then singing a song. She also performs wearing her traditional Haida button robe and cedar hat, while also teaching Haida words and sharing some of the history and culture of the Haida people.
Raven’s Feast School Performance
Haida storyteller Kung Jaadee shares her published story, Raven’s Feast, and shares the teachings that go along with it: each of us has a gift to share with the world, and we should also learn to love ourselves. She uses her rattle, drum, and songs to enhance her stories, usually alternating by telling a story, then singing a song. She also wears her traditional Haida button robe and cedar hat and teaches students some Haida words along with some interesting history and culture of the Haida people.
Grade Suitability: K - 12
Duration: 55 - 60 mins.
About the book
After the Raven (Yaahl) had finished creating the world; he realized that he was lonely. So he invited the whole world to join him in Haida Gwaii for the greatest feast you could ever imagine. At the end of the Feast each person, from all 4 sacred directions, was given a special gift that would change their lives forever! Order the book here.
“...balm for the soul, enthralling, highly recommended...”
“Raven causes magic...[Kung Jaadee's] compelling delivery keeps her audience enraptured with these magical tales...a wonderful show, and perfect for two-leggeds of all ages.”
“Four Stars. Kung Jaadee's voice is well practised, an authoritative tone of high seriousness that she betrays with a whimsical grin, perfect for telling stories. She has the kind of voice that makes you want to curl up by the fire and learn, eyes up to the heavens looking for Raven overhead.”
“[Kung Jaadee] creates beautiful scenes in the imaginations of listeners young and old about a time when the animals were mankind's teachers.”
—Winnipeg Free Press
“I highly recommend this experience to everyone. The audience I was part of spanned at least six decades, and Kung Jaadee kept us all rapt.”
—The Jenny Revue, Winnipeg
“You were awesome at school today. You have an awesome singing voice, very talented. Thank you for sharing your rich culture with us. We are truly blessed for the opportunity to listen to your stories.”
“Kung Jaadee is a compelling storyteller. Her performance weaves together traditional Haida stories, songs, and contemporary Haida life. She will introduce you to a magnificent culture that has survived difficult times and is now being restored to its rightful place. You'll laugh with her, you might cry a little bit, and you will come away with a deeper understanding of the power of art, myth and tradition.”