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Inspired by huge attendance, festival organizers forge ahead

The crowd at Yellowknife's Sǫǫ̀mba K’è Multicultural Festival in June 2022
The crowd at Yellowknife's Sǫǫ̀mba K’è Multicultural Festival in June 2022. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio

Organizers of June’s Sǫǫ̀mba K’è Multicultural Festival in Yellowknife say they are heartened by the thousands of people who attended, up from last year’s estimate of 500.

Thembi Mpoko-Ndlovu, vice president of Diversity NWT and Nunavut, says June 26’s healthy attendance was “a dream come true” for a group that tries to represent different cultures in the North.

Diversity NWT comprises just five people, Mpoko-Ndlovu said, with “big dreams” and a focus on cultural awareness and support.

“The turnout and support from the community was amazing,” she said. “The fact that everyone came out and were celebrating… I was amazed at the number of different nationalities we have in Yellowknife. It was really mind-blowing for me.”



Roger Mario of the Multicultural Community of Yellowknife agreed, telling Cabin Radio the success far exceeded his expectations.

The group, known as MCY and formerly named the Yellowknife Community of Dance, attempts to bring people together through dancing and music. MCY served as a main organizer for the festival.

“When you organize something like that, you hope for the best, especially with the weather,” Mario said. “It didn’t start on a really amazing note in the morning, with the clouds, but it turned out very well.

“The collaboration went way beyond what we expected. We had the NWT Literacy Council and the RCMP as some of the partners, so it just expanded our collaboration in the city with different organizations.”



MCY is now planning its next multicultural event, a gala later this year. In July, the organization will hold a meeting for Yellowknife residents to collaborate with the committee.

“We’re going to ask people to tell us what they want to share from their culture, and we’re going to help them by providing a space to practice,” said Mario.

Members have already begun planning next year’s festival, too. Mario hopes the event will be annual from now on.

Diversity NWT, meanwhile, is planning a multicultural film festival – including an outdoor cinema show – some time in the fall.