Allow Me To Introduce Myself....
On Canada Day July 1st 1994 I was formally invested by Yukon Commissioner the Honourable Kenneth McKinnon and became the first official Yukon poet laureate, the first officially-invested poet laureate in Canada, and the only non-British invested poet laureate in the world.
On that day I was also given the title “Poet Laureate of the Yukon” and presented with a signed official proclamation and the official “Poet Laureate of the Yukon” pin as my insignia. I was also presented with my personal symbol of office - the carved Talking Stick by former Yukon MP Audrey McLaughlin.
Canada Day July 1st 1994 - Whitehorse Yukon
Yukon Commissioner the Honourable
Kenneth McKinnon reads the official proclamation.
Leaving the stage carrying the Talking Stick
*My laureateship is not a paid position, governed appointment, or program. It is a title granted in recognition of my contributions and achievements as an artist.
About Me: I am the daughter of a Yukon trapper and I am also known as "The Yukon Raven Lady". Proclaiming myself a "Raven Maniac" in 1985, I led a successful campaign to have my personal symbol and spirit guide the Northern Raven declared the official symbol of the Yukon.
Yukon Raven Campaign Button Designed by PJ Yukon and artist Jim Robb
As an Animal Rights Advocate: I am also an animal rights advocate and have dedicated a section of this website to honouring and protecting the creatures with whom we share this planet. At present I am campaigning to have the two brutal 1,000-mile sled dog races permanently banned due the on-going inhumane treatment of the sled dogs. More at: https://bit.ly/3H6SPil and: PJ Yukon - ANIMAL ADVOCATE!
As An Artist: I have been active in the arts for many years as a musician/composer, actress, poet, playwright, photographer, performance artist, creative mentor and Yukon ambassador. If it's creative I've probably been there. As a storyteller of the oral tradition my poems stories and songs have been televised and performed nationally and globally and published widely translated into Greek, Polish, Italian, Farci, Welsh, Bengali and other languages.
Canada Day 2017 welcoming the R.C.M.P. Musical Ride back to Whitehorse to celibrate the 150th anniversary of our nation.
"Dance of the Northern Lights" - Performance
In 1992 as an annual performer at the Yukon International Storytelling Festival I composed and produced the play "Dance of the Northern Lights" and was invited by the National Capital Commission to perform it at the National Gallery of Canada and the Astrolabe Theatre in Ottawa. It premiered to four standing ovations.
"Dance of the Northern Lights" promo pics with actor Roy Ness
My performances have also been featured on a variety of national television and radio programs around the world. Examples of my creative works can be viewed on this website and also on various social media sites.
National Arts Centre - Ottawa 2017
About My NLD: I have a condition called Nonverbal Learning Disorder or NVLD which is a visual-spatial perceptional learning disability that basically means that I don’t learn by reading. When dealing with any kind of written or printed text I am limited considerably, hence the majority of my creative works have been presented via live performance.
I speak about my journey with NVLD to encourage others who have a learning disability to realize that they can still pursue their dreams. More at: About My NLD
On Being a Storyteller: My first influence as an artist was listening to elders talk story in the ancient oral storytelling tradition. As an artist with a learning disability, when attempting to comprehend written text the words often seem to swim around on the page like so many fish. But when the storyteller speaks I understand implicitly.
Performing "Colour Me Canadian" - National Arts Centre Ottawa 2017
My first book "I Sing Yukon" was a small collection of my earliest poems and stories published in 1982 now out of print. A second book "Rhymes Of The Raven Lady" published by Hancock House in 1995 was basically a reprint of “I Sing Yukon”.
My most recent book “it’s howlin’ time!” published in 2019 in celebration of my 25th year as Poet Laureate of the Yukon is available via Mac's Fireweed Books www.macsbooks.ca/ and Chapters Indigo in Whitehorse.
Thanks for dropping by - Come back often!
*This site will be regularly updated. Videos can also be viewed on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheYukonraven