Haida Indians

The Haida of the North-western part of British Columbia in Canada are a coastal people who can trace their linage back to the last Ice age around 14000 years ago.

The Haida first came into contact with Europeans around 1774 .

They then started to trade with the Europeans and the U.S for sea Otter pelts they also had good trade links with Russians which was very lucrative for them .

However, they did have confrontations latter with both the Europeans and the U.S. authorities.

Several ships belonging to the Europeans and the U.S. were captured and prisoners taken .

They were excellent at building seagoing vessels or sae going Canoes . this enabled them to travel quit long distances to hunt for Whales and other fish .

In 1862the smallpox epidemic hit the Haida peoples and so their population shrank in its wake again causing hardship to a decimated people .

This was not the last disaster to encompass the Haida in 1885 the Canadian government abolished the Pot Lash ceremony again devastating their spiritual and economic way of life which caused a great deal of hardship as well as destroying traditional cultural and spiritual way of life and ceremonies . Also, children were forcibly removed from families and packed of to boarding schools in Alberta to make them become euro Canadians .

To day the Potlatch ceremony is back having bi reinstated so they Haida and other coastal people can practice their sacred ceremonies with pride for weddings , births , civil arrangements and as a giving away ceremony which can last for several days .

To day 21st century their land is now called Haida Gwal and  not Queen Charlotte Island as named by the British .

They are now their own people within the Canadian constitution like all other indigenous people on Turtle Island .

They work now largely to preserve the coastal forests of British Columbia and associated Islands up to the border with Alaska and down to Washington state .

Some of the  U.S Haida citizens are also part of the Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska .

Among things they are noted for are their fine wooden carvings of Totem poles and on houses and other ceremonial building they use .

The wood they use for carving is Cedar which makes up a large part of the forests in that part of Canada and Alaska .

These carvings tell the history of the Clans  and families of the region .as well as stories of individuals the carvings could include animals such as the eagle . Raven , Bear . Moose , Wolf ,Fish all tell a story of a particular Clan or family and many other meanings .

To day tourists come from all over the world to see their villages and cultural heritage and manage to keep them alive and thriving .

Not so common now but in times gone past is when teenagers reach puberty, they would like their plains Indian cousins would go of to do a vision quest in to the forests for a few days looking to connect with spirit guides and they would cd where ac mask of an animal they may want to connect with .

Today there are around 25000 people living of Haida descent in and around the Pacific coast .

These include Tlingit ,Haida ,Tsimshian ,Gitxsan , Haisla ,Heiltsuk ,Nuxalk ,Wuikinhxv , Kwakwaka -wakw ,Nuu-chan -nulth and Makah .

Southern Coastal people include the Salish , Chimakum , Quileute , Willapa , Chinook , Tillamook and Danaxclaxw .