Haida Culture

Haida Heritage Centre

Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay, Skidegate, Haida Gwaii BC. I experimented with making this short video, while I was working at the Kay for Gwaalagaa Naay Corporation in 2012. My goal was to show the beautiful place that I worked. This video prompted me to make a longer video which was concluded with the Parenting Program for Haida Child and Family Services. Thank you for watching. Enjoy the video…

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Around 1860, the Haida ancestors suffered at the hand of outsiders, when small pox was brought from Victoria to the Queen Charlotte Islands. Ninety percent of the population was wiped out. In 1884 the Canadian Government outlawed the potlatch and along with it went the culture. Items associated with potlatches such as bowls, ladles, masks, headdresses and all dance regalia were no longer needed. Artists died without passing on their […]

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To appreciate the Art, it is important to understand the structures of their social system. All Haida are born either “Ravens” or “Eagles”. The determination of moiety is established by the mother’s affiliation. Within the moiety are lineages; associations to these lineages are several crests, legends and Haida names. The legends associated with the Art may not be known, as it originates in the artist mind. It is of great […]

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Symbols of Art

The Ravens and Eagles owns and have a right to display certain crests. A sample of the crests affiliated with the Ravens are: Raven, Killer whale, Grizzly bear, Black bear, Hawk, Moon, Sea Wolf, Shark and Wolf. A sample of crests affiliated with the Eagles are: Eagle, Beaver, Sea Wolf, Hawk, Killer whale, Raven, Frog and Dragonfly. Brief descriptions of the most commonly utilized crests: Birds such as the “Raven” […]

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Totem Poles

Bill Reid totem pole

Totem poles represented family lineages and privileges; they told the story of the people that lived in the houses. Chiefs competed with other chiefs with having taller and more detailed totem poles. Carvers were in great demand to create these rich works of Art. There are different types of totem poles, each with a different function: Mortuary poles were used for high-ranking individuals or chiefs. These poles had large cavities […]

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