The purpose of Dallas Yellowfly’s performance of Qwalena is to create awareness of the inter-generational impact of Indian residential schools. (Ron Perron)

Storyteller’s performance in Chilliwack shows impact of Indian residential schools

Dallas Yellowfly brings ‘Qwalena: The Wild Woman Who Steals Children’ to G.W. Graham theatre

Indigenous storyteller Dallas Yellowfly will bring his multi-media performance of Qwalena: The Wild Woman Who Steals Children to Chilliwack next week.

As part of the Mt. Waddington’s Outdoors Speaker Series, all proceeds from the event will go to support the Aboriginal Mentorship Program, a local Indigenous-led initiative within the Chilliwack School District.

The purpose of his performance is to create awareness of the inter-generational impact of Indian residential schools.

In a dark theatre, to the steady beat of a drum, Yellowfly tells a startling and thought-provoking tale of a girl who is born disfigured, bullied and ostracized by kids in her own community. She runs away to the forest where she stays hidden. Over time Qwalena becomes the wild woman who makes eerie whistling sounds like the wind and steals children who dare to chase her in the woods. During the presentation Yellowfly uses multimedia elements of video and sound that fill the theatre creating a chilling atmosphere, with some humor thrown in, and a surprise ending.

Yellowfly explains Qwalena is an allegorical creature that represents the Indian agents who stole Aboriginal children from their families and forced them into government funded Indian residential schools under Canada’s aggressive assimilation policy. Yellowfly’s own father was one of these children.

By blending thrilling elements of oral tradition with modern multi-media and a bit of humour, Yellowfly hopes to promote an understanding of the Indian Act and show how Indigenous youth can develop a strong cultural identity in the wake of residential schools.

Yellowfly performs courtesy of 3 Crows Productions, founded by a local trio of Indigenous storytellers.

Qwalena: The Wild Woman Who Steals Children is at G.W. Graham theatre on Thursday, April 11. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with performance starting at 7 p.m.

Tickets $15, and available at eventbrite.com.

Caution: This presentation is not suitable for children under 13.

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