Dennis Shorty is a musician, master carver, artist, drummaker, and storyteller from Ross River. His journey into art began by observing his family’s carving traditions, evolving into a spiritual practice connecting him with his ancestors. Despite challenges faced during the Residential School years, Dennis is dedicated to revitalizing his cultural legacy.
Dennis’s mission in life, now supported by his wife, Jenny, is to bring the rich folk art, the traditional music, the Kaska language, and the foods of his ancestors, to a wider audience.
Check out their beautiful short-term rental Raven’s Nest Lodge, their workshops, and the art gallery in Ross River. All around the Yukon, watch for their energetic performances as Dena Zagi. Find all the info here: www.dennisshortyarts.com
What’s on your playlist right now?
CCR, Karat, City, Cat Steven
Don Williams, John Denver, Elvis, Blondie, Nena, Jonny Cash
What is one thing that you look forward to every year?
When someone from out of town comes to visit, what is something you always do or prepare to eat?
We sometimes have the most intense and beautiful deep spiritual conversations and then jam out together and then we make bannock and moose Gulasch which we will enjoy together with Jenny’s special punch.
Name one or two Yukoners you are influenced by, and why?
Our dear friend Late Mark Preston, was a great artist and our friend who always gave us pointers and advice for anything. He was a strong soul thinking out of the box. Katie Johnson and Charlene Alexander gave us a platform to flourish with my visual art and our music with our band Dena Zagi. They even gave us our nickname Jennis, short for Jenny and Dennis. Charlene and Katie saw potential in us to be hosts and to expand our art business into accommodations, now we also run the Raven Nest accommodations in Ross River. Both are beautiful souls, that want our indigenous people to succeed with arts and culture as entrepreneurs!
If you could have a superpower, what would you choose and why?
We both would love to have Mind and heart power to make people become peaceful, respectful, and loving beings to help one another and all living on our beautiful blue planet called Mother Earth.
What are one or more superpowers that you DO have, that have helped with your business?
We both are go-getters and never give up! We don’t just talk, we walk the talk… always solution-oriented, patient, and positive-spirited! We are reliable and show up on time!
Thanks for sharing, Dennis and Jenny!