Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Angela Sidney

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Occupation  Storyteller, author
Period  20th century
Died  July 17, 1991
Nationality  Yukon First Nations
Genre  Native culture
Notable awards  Order of Canada
Ethnicity  Tagish
Name  Angela Sidney
Books  Tagish Tlaagu
Citizenship  Canadian
Role  Author

Angela Sidney wwwammsacomsitesdefaultfilesarticlesarticle
Relatives  Keish, Kate Carmack, Dawson Charlie

Pronounciation of Tlingit Place Name No. 121 - Ḵaa L'aa Shaayí (breast mountain)

Angela Sidney, (January 4, 1902 – July 17, 1991) was a Tagish storyteller. She co-authored two narratives of traditional Tagish legends and a historical document of Tagish place names for southern Yukon. For her linguistics and ethnography contributions, Sidney received the Order of Canada, becoming the first Native woman from the Yukon to be so honoured.



"Well, I have no money to leave for my grandchildren. My stories are my wealth!"



Sidney was born near Carcross in 1902. She was given two names at birth, Ch'óonehte' Ma (in Tagish), Stóow (in Tlingit), and a third, Angela, by her godfather, when she was two weeks old.

Her mother, Maria John (or Maria Tagish) (born ca. 1871), was of Tlingit Deisheetaan (Crow) clan ancestry. Her father, Tagish John (born ca. 1856), was Tagish Dakhl'awedi. Maria was left weak after epidemics killed the family's first four children. A brother, Johnny, and a sister, Alice Dora, were Sidney's siblings from the couple's second family. Because her mother was not well, Sidney, eldest daughter, spent much of her time assisting her mother and listening to her stories. However, Sidney did receive some schooling in Carcross at the Anglican mission school prior to age ten.

Her father's cousins, Skookum Jim, Kate Carmack and Dawson Charlie, were credited with making the gold discovery that led to the Klondike Gold Rush in 1896.


At age 14, Sidney married George Sidney (ca. 1888 - 1971). They had seven children, four of whom died young. George worked seasonally for White Pass and Yukon Route railroad, he later became chief at Carcross.

Sidney loved to listen to her parents' stories, and those of her relatives. To ensure that the dances, language, stories, and traditions of her people were recorded for future generations, Sidney started teaching Tagish traditions to schoolchildren. She assisted linguists Victor Golla, Jeff Leer and John Ritter and anthropologists Catharine McClellan and Julie Cruikshank with their research on Tagish language and traditions to ensure the Tagish language would not be lost. In teaching the craft of storytelling to her niece, Louise Profeit-LeBlanc, Sidney emphasized the need to be cognizant of the needs of the audience, preface the telling with a prayer, and seek forgiveness before offense is taken.

Sidney died in 1991. She was survived by a daughter, Ida Calmegane.

Awards and honors

  • 1986, Member of the Order of Canada
  • Sidney was the inspiration for the development of the Yukon International Storytelling Festival, created in 1988, when fellow storytellers learned that Sidney had to travel to Toronto in 1984 to be part of a storytelling festival.
  • Selected stories

  • Getting married
  • The stolen woman
  • How people got flint
  • The old woman under the world
  • Moldy head
  • Fox helper
  • Wolf story
  • Potlatch story
  • References

    Angela Sidney Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Azzam Alwash