MIKE DANGELI & GIT HAYETSK DANCERS
Mike Dangeli is of the Nisga’ Nations and since childhood, Mike has been training under the leaders of his family to be the hereditary chief of his clan among the Nisga’a. His people’s traditional territory is the Nass River Valley area of British Columbia, which is approximately 500 miles north from Vancouver.
At an early age, Mike began to attend feasts, potlatches and other ceremonies in BC and Alaska with his mother Arlene Roberts to start his training in each of the languages of his diverse background and began to study their art forms, histories, and cultures. At these gatherings, Mike also danced with his family’s dance group, the Juneau Tsimshian-Nisga’a Dancers, led by his grandmother and grandfather, Louisa and Reggie Dangeli. From these experiences, he learned how to host his own feasts, potlatches and totem pole raisings, prepare traditional foods, speak for his family, and to perform the songs and dances of his people.
West Coast First Nations mask-dancing group Git Hayetsk (People of the Copper Shield) from Vancouver B.C., present the dance traditions of the Sm’algyax speaking peoples of Southeast Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia, which include the Nisga’a, Tsimshian, and Gitxsan Nations. Led by Mike and Mique'l Dangeli, the group brings to life the carved masks which are featured in many of the dances and continue their dance traditions into contemporary times.
Their dance group reflects the diversity of the urban First Nations population of Vancouver. With this and previous groups, Mike and Mique’l have performed, held lectures, workshops, and carving demonstrations in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, Austria, Malaysia, Germany and Japan.