Sharing her story

Kung Jaadee (Moon Woman) has performed for hundreds of audiences across Canada and the United States

HAIDA STORYTELLER Kung Jaadee shares her heritage this Saturday at the Sid Williams Theatre.

HAIDA STORYTELLER Kung Jaadee shares her heritage this Saturday at the Sid Williams Theatre.

Twenty years ago, she was shy and scared.

But she stepped up in front of her son’s kindergarten class anyway to share her story. She did it for her son.

Now Kung Jaadee (Moon Woman) has performed for hundreds of audiences across Canada and the United States at festivals, schools, museums and aboriginal celebrations and conferences.

This Saturday at 7:30 p.m., she brings her story and stories about Haida culture to the Sid Williams Theatre.

“I grew up ashamed of who I was,” says the singer, storyteller and drummer. “On my first day of school I was taunted and teased because I was a Haida.

“It was an Armed Forces school and all the other five-year-olds yelled out all the stereotypes that exist for my people. To save myself I climbed into a shell of shame and silence that lasted my whole life until my son started school.”

Kung Jaadee (Roberta Kennedy) didn’t want her son to suffer like she did. So she took her button robe to his school and talked about how long it took her great-grandmother to make it and how it was given to her at her high school graduation.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “But when I finished, all the students looked at my son and said, ‘You’re so lucky!’ And I noticed my son sitting a little taller.”

But Kung Jaadee was in for a surprise.

All the other teachers at the school invited her to come to their classes and then she began receiving invitations to tell her stories at other locations across Canada.

“I was scared,” she admits. “I thought I would only do that once. It was hard for me to change. In the beginning I had to fake being proud and strong.

“But after a few years I realized I wasn’t faking anymore. The more I told the stories the more I learned how to heal myself.”

Now Kung Jaadee, who also teaches elementary school in Masset, has been to almost every province in the country. And she’s learned that even though people are different, there is always something that connects them.

“It might be the same story told another way or the same food prepared another way,” she says. “Sometimes it’s a song, the word for grandmother or the belief in the importance of family. There is always something that brings us together, that makes us realize that people from other places aren’t so different from ourselves after all.”

Kung Jaadee loves sharing her culture, especially with people who have never heard the word Haida before or who don’t even know where Haida Gwaii, formerly the Queen Charlotte Island, is.

“Haida stories tell of a time when the animals were people like us,” she says. “We were all brothers and sisters and the animals taught us how to live and be true haada-laas (good people).

“My stories stretch from before the beginning of time to the present day. It is a safe journey and usually a fun one. My stories are for all ages and all peoples.”

Unfortunately, Kung Jaadee says the racism and prejudice she experienced as a child is still prevalent.

“There are a lot of negative stereotypes out there,” she says. “But I try not to focus on that. I concentrate on the richness of our stories, dances and songs as a way to bring people together. I use humour as much as possible as laughter is healing.”

Tickets, ranging from $5 to $15, are available at the Sid Williams Theatre. To find out more about Kung Jaadee, visit


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A WestJet flight on the runway leaving Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Aviation company seeks contracted employees to fill former WestJet roles at YQQ

Menzies Aviation from Edinburgh Park, Scotland, operates in 34 countries across the world

A cougar was spotted Monday near Queneesh Elementary. (WildSafe BC photo)
Cougar sighted Monday near Courtenay school

Conservation officers are warning the public to avoid the wooded areas around… Continue reading

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
SD71 to address COVID-19 exposures with virtual town hall

The meeting is set for Thursday, March 4

Courtenay Elementary is the latest school on a growing list that has COVID-19 exposures. Google Maps photo
Courtenay Elementary latest school on growing list of COVID-19 exposures

Exposure dates at the school on McPhee Avenue are Feb. 22, 23 and 24

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Tofino Resort and Marina has temporarily shut down after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19. (Nora O’Malley photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at Tofino Resort and Marina

Resort apologizes to Hesquiaht First Nation for Valentine’s Day boating incident.

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Most Read