MIKE DANGELI & GIT HAYETSK DANCERS
Mike Dangeli is of the Nisga’a, Tlingit, Tsetsaut, and Tsimshian Nations. He belongs to the
Beaver Clan and carries the names Goothl Ts’imilx (Heart of the Beaver House) and Teettlien
(Big Wave). Since childhood, Mike has been training under the leaders of his family to be the Simoget (hereditary chief) of his clan among the Nisga’a. His people’s traditional territory is the Nass River Valley area of British Columbia, which 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 begin study their art forms, histories, and cultures. At these gathering,
Mike also danced with his family’s dance group, the Juneau Tsimshian-Nisga’a Dancers, lead 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.
Striving to expand his understanding of and ability in carving, painting and design, Mike always honors opportunities to learn from many Master Carvers including: Beau Dick, Simon Dick, Robert Davidson, Reg Davidson, Henry Greene, Lyle Campbell, and many others. He has also held two major apprenticeships with Master Carvers: Randy Adams, and David Boxley. Also contributing greatly to his work is the regularly returning home to Northern BC and Alaska where he continues to learn oral histories, songs, dances, and protocols from his Nisga’a, Tsimshian, and Tlingit elders.
Mike currently lives in Vancouver, BC where he founded the House of Culture: Art and Carving Studio. Mike’s works include masks, drums, regalia, paintings, and limited edition silk-screened prints. Mike is also an accomplished singer, songwriter, and dancer. Since 2003 Mike has shared the leadership of The Git Hayetsk Dancers with his Fiancé Mique’l Askren (Tsimshian). 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 demonstration in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, Austria, Malaysia, Germany and Japan.
They take pride in respectfully being traditionally contemporary and make it a priority is to both continue and expand our ancient traditions in contemporary times and as such we sing the songs of ancestors as well as create new songs, dances, drums, rattles, masks, and regalia to reflect and record our experiences as First Nations people today.