The Haida Village
Social and Economic Organization
The first recorded European contact (1774) was with the Spanish explorer Juan PÉREZ. British Captain George Dixon initiated trade (1787) with the Haida for sea-otter pelts, and the Haida remained at the centre of the lucrative China sea-otter trade until the mid-1800s.
European settlers did not significantly populate Haida Gwaii (then known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) until almost 1900. Mainland fur traders estimated a Haida population before 1850 of 6000-8000. By 1915 the population had declined to 588 people, mainly because of smallpox and other diseases. Though the Haida were traditionally a warlike people, their large seagoing canoes carrying them on raiding expeditions as far south as Washington state, incidents of violent confrontation with Europeans were few. In 1996 the Haida population of the archipelago was 3423.
Author TRISHA GESSLER, DOROTHY KENNEDY and RANDY BOUCHARD
M.B. Blackman, During My Time: Florence Edenshaw Davidson(1982); M.L. Stearns, Haida Culture in Custody: The Masset Band (1981); J.R. Swanton, "Contributions to the Ethnology of the Haida," The Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Vol 5, Part 1 (1901).
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve of Canada
The Parks Canada website for the scenic Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve of Canada. Features online resources about Haida history and culture as well as local geography and natural history. See also the link to the "Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site".
A profile of acclaimed Haida sculptor Bill Reid. From the Royal British Columbia Museum. A pdf file.
An illustrated visitor’s guide to the natural history and First Nations landmarks on the Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands.
The 'Respect to Bill Reid' Pole
This site captures the spiritual beauty of the "The Respect to Bill Reid Pole", which was created as a tribute to the great Haida artist, Bill Reid. Follow along a timeline to see the fascinating process involved in carving a totem pole. From the Virtual Museum of Canada.
Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
The website for the "Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples." Click on the links for feature articles about Canada's many multicultural communities, access to their extensive digital archives collection, learning modules, and much more. From "Multicultural Canada."
Languages of Canada
A comprehensive online database of languages currently in use in Canada. Also provides details about extinct languages. Check out the "language maps" for more information. Based on "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition." From SIL International, a US website.
The website for Robert Davidson, one of Canada’s most respected and important contemporary artists. This superb online collection of paintings, prints, sculptures and jewellery features many Haida cultural themes.
Haida Spirits of the Sea
Ancient artifacts and works of art reveal the history and traditions of the Haida at this Virtual Museum website.
SGaang Gwaii (Anthony Island)
The website for the SGaang Gwaii (Anthony Island) World Heritage Site in the Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands). Features beautiful images of historic Haida totem poles. A Parks Canada website.
Old Massett Village Council
A profile of Old Massett Village on the east shore of Masset Sound, on Graham Island, Queen Charlotte Islands. Offers information about treaty settlement negotiations, land use planning, and social and cultural initiatives. A Government of British Columbia website.
Haida house models
An illustrated guide to models of houses constructed by the Haida people. Features photos of Chief Wiah's Monster House. From the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Our World - Our Way of Life
Learn about Haida and Inuit culture as revealed through oral histories, works of art, and photographs in this extensively illustrated Virtual Museum of Canada exhibit.
The Haida : Children of Eagle and Raven
This site explores the history of the Haida people in British Columbia. From the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Architecture of Hope Revisited
View an online photo gallery depicting innovative First Nations school buildings conceived by Patkau Architects. From TheTyee.ca.
Composer's 30-year journey led to Beyond Eden
A CBC News story about composer Bruce Ruddell's "Beyond Eden," a musical focusing on the disappearing totem poles of Haida Gwaii. Stars Tom Jackson and John Mann appear.
Native Cultures of Western Alaska and the Pacific Northwest Coast
An extensive paper about the culture and history of First Nations peoples on Canada's West Coast. From the website for the Community College Humanities Association in the US.
The Raven's Call
An online multimedia exhibit that showcases the life and works of legendary Haida artist Bill Reid. From the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art and the Virtual Museum of Canada.
The Bill Reid Centre For Northwest Coast Art Studies
Part of the Department of First Nations Studies at Simon Fraser University, this centre is devoted to "the study of First Nations art of the Northwest Coast as the visual embodiment of a broad cultural development since the end of the last Ice Age." Click the links on the right side of the page to view an illustrated profile of the history and heritage of featured language groups and villages.