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Dennis Shorty | Drumming belongs to everyone

Dennis Shorty is a Kaska Dena sculptor who has spent most of his life near Ross River, Yukon. Dennis has overcome addictions and abuse to become one of the Yukon’s most accomplished carvers. His works are in collections around the world, and his successes take him to Europe and across North America. A skilled woodsman and hunter, Dennis spends much time out on the land and remains connected to his traditional ways.

Dennis is also a drummer and singer. He speaks and writes songs in the Kaska language, which connects him with his past and provides inspiration for his music. Dennis teaches and leads drum circles and often drums with the Kaska Dena Drummers. Dennis is also in a band, Dena Zagi, with his German-born wife Jenny. She is at Dennis’ side through everything, including the painful process of reconciliation as a victim of residential school. Their band plays original songs written in the Kaska language about things that are very important to Dennis: his ancestors, his traditional ways, animals, Mother Earth, healing.