Haida Gwaii

Haida Gwaii (/ˈhaɪdə ˈɡwaɪ/;[2] Haida kíl: X̱aaydag̱a Gwaay.yaay / X̱aayda gwaay, literally "Islands of the Haida people"[3]), is an archipelago approximately 45–60 km (30–40 mi) off the northern Pacific coast of Canada. They are separated from the mainland to the east by the Hecate Strait. Queen Charlotte Sound lies to the south, with Vancouver Island beyond. To the north, the disputed Dixon Entrance separates Haida Gwaii from the Alexander Archipelago in the U.S. state of Alaska.

Haida Gwaii consists of two main islands: Graham or North Island (Haida kíl: Kiis Gwaay) in the north and Moresby Island (T'aawxii X̱aaydaɢ̠a Gwaay.yaay linaɢ̠waay, literally: south people island half, or Gwaay Haanas "Islands of Beauty") in the south, along with approximately 150 smaller islands with a total landmass of 10,180 km2 (3,931 sq mi). Other major islands include Anthony Island (Ḵ'waagaaw / Sɢ̠ang Gwaay), Burnaby Island (Sɢ̠aay Kun Gwaay.yaay), Alder Island (Ḵ'uuna Gwaay / Gwaay.yaay),[3] and Kunghit Island. (For a fuller, but still incomplete, list see List of islands of British Columbia).

Part of the Canadian province of British Columbia, the islands were formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, and colloquially as "the Charlottes".[4] On June 3, 2010, the archipelago was formally renamed by the Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act as part of the Kunst'aa guu - Kunst'aayah Reconciliation Protocol[5] between British Columbia and the Haida people.[2][6][7]

The islands are the heartland of the Haida Nation. Haida people have lived on the islands for 13,000 years,[8] and currently make up approximately half of the population.[9] The Haida exercise their sovereignty over the islands through their acting government, X̱aaydaG̱a Waadlux̱an Naay, the Council of the Haida Nation, and have as recently as 2015 hosted First Nations delegations such as the Potlatch and subsequent treaty signing between the Haida and Heiltsuk.[10] A small number of Kaigani Haida also live on the traditionally Lingít Prince of Wales Island in Alaska.

Some of the islands are protected under federal legislation as Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, which includes the southernmost part of Moresby Island and several adjoining islands and islets. Also protected, but under provincial jurisdiction, are several provincial parks, the largest of which is Naikoon Provincial Park on northeastern Graham Island. The islands are home to an abundance of wildlife, including the largest subspecies of black bear (Ursus americanus carlottae) and also the smallest subspecies of stoat (Mustela erminea haidarum). Black-tailed deer and raccoon are introduced species that have become abundant.

Haida Gwaii
X̱aaydag̱a Gwaay.yaay
X̱aayda gwaay
Nickname: "Queen Charlottes"
"The Charlottes"
Haida Heritage Centre
Haida Heritage Centre at Kaay Llnagaay
Queen Charlotte Islands Map
Map of Haida Gwaii
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates53°N 132°W / 53°N 132°WCoordinates: 53°N 132°W / 53°N 132°W
Total islandsc. 150
Major islandsGraham Island, Moresby Island
Area10,180 km2 (3,930 sq mi)
Highest elevation1,164 m (3,819 ft)
Highest pointMount Moresby
ProvinceBritish Columbia
Largest settlementVillage of Queen Charlotte (pop. 948)
Population4,761 [1] (2008)
Pop. density0.468 /km2 (1.212 /sq mi)
Additional information
Time zone


The primary transportation links between the Islands and mainland British Columbia are through the Sandspit Airport, the Masset Airport and the BC Ferries terminal at Skidegate.

The westernmost leg of Highway 16 connects Masset and Skidegate on Graham Island, and Skidegate with Prince Rupert on the mainland via regular BC Ferries service by the MV Northern Adventure.

There is also regular BC Ferries service between Skidegate and Alliford Bay on Moresby Island. Floatplane services connect to facilities such as the Alliford Bay Water Aerodrome and Masset Water Aerodrome.


The economy is mixed, including art and natural resources, primarily logging and commercial fishing. Furthermore, service industries and government jobs provide about one-third of the jobs, and tourism has become a more prominent part of the economy in recent years, especially for fishing and tour guides, cycling, camping, and adventure tourism. Aboriginal culture tourism has been enhanced with the establishment of the Haida Heritage Centre at Kaay Ilnygaay.


Public education is provided through School District 50 Haida Gwaii, which operates elementary and secondary schools in Masset, Port Clements, Queen Charlotte, Sandspit, and Skidegate. Higher education programs are offered at the Haida Heritage Centre in partnership with the Northwest Community College, University of Northern British Columbia, and with the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society.[11]

Health care

Publicly funded health services are provided by Northern Health, the regional health authority responsible for the northern half of the province.

Haida Gwaii is served by two hospitals, The Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre in Masset and the Haida Gwaii Hospital in Queen Charlotte which was completed in Fall 2015.

Haida Gwaii has four British Columbia Ambulance stations. They are staffed by Approximately 36 casual Emergency Medical Responders (EMR), and 1 Part-Time Community Paramedic based in Masset.


At the time of colonial contact, the population was roughly 30,000 people, residing in several towns and including slave populations drawn from other clans of Haida as well as from other nations. It is estimated that ninety percent of the population died during the 1800s from smallpox alone; other diseases arrived as well, including typhoid, measles, and syphilis, affecting many more inhabitants.

By 1900, only 350 people remained. Towns were abandoned as people left their homes for the towns of Skidegate and Masset, for cannery towns on the mainland, or for Vancouver Island. Today, around 4,500[12] people live on the islands. About 70% of the indigenous people (Haida) live in two communities at Skidegate and Old Massett, with a population of about 700 each. In total the Haida make up 45% of the population of the islands.

Anthony Island and the Ninstints Haida village site were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006; in the decision, the decline in population wrought by disease was referenced when citing the 'vanished civilization' of the Haida.[13]


Haida Houses
Houses and totem poles, Skidegate, 26 July 1878 (George Mercer Dawson, Geological Survey of Canada, NAC-PA-37756)

Haida Gwaii is considered by archaeologists as an option for a Pacific coastal route taken by the first humans migrating to the Americas from the Bering Strait.[14] At this time Haida Gwaii was likely not an island, but connected to Vancouver Island and the mainland via the now submerged continental shelf.[15][16]

It is unclear how people arrived on Haida Gwaii, but archaeological sites have established human habitation on the islands as far back as 13,000 years ago.[17] Populations that formerly inhabited Beringia expanded into northern North America after the Last Glacial Maximum, and gave rise to Eskimo-Aleuts and Na-Dené Indians.[18]

Underwater archaeologists from the University of Victoria are seeking to confirm that stone structures discovered in 2014 on the seabed of Hecate Strait may date back 13,700 or more years ago and be the earliest known signs of human habitation in Canada.[14] Coastal sites of this era are now deep underwater.[19]

Pre-colonial era

The coastal migration hypothesis of the settlement of the Americas suggests that the first North Americans may have been here as the oldest human remains known from Alaska or Canada are from On Your Knees Cave. Anthropologists have found striking parallels between the myths, rituals, and dwelling types of the Koryaks—inhabitants of the Kamchatka Peninsula—and those of the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. At this time the island was twice as large as today. There is strong genetic evidence for these early people having an origin there.[20][21] The Koryaks were a matrilinear seafaring people hunting whales and other marine mammals.[22] Their god was Kujkynnjaku, the Raven.[23][24] Most of the Raven myths are similar to those of the Koryak.[24]

The group of people inhabiting these Islands developed a culture made rich by the abundance of the land and sea. These people became the Haida. The Haida were a matriarchal society – the women made the decisions prior to European discovery. The Haida are a linguistically-distinct group, and they have a complex class and rank system consisting of two main clans, the Eagles and Ravens.

Links and diversity within the Haida Nation were gained through a cross lineal marriage system between the clans. This system was also important for the transfer of wealth within the Nation, with each clan reliant on the other for the building of longhouses, the carving of totem poles and other items of cultural importance.

Noted seafarers, the Haida occupied more than 100 villages throughout the Islands. The Haida were skilled traders, with established trade links with their neighbouring First Nations on the mainland to California.[25]

Colonial era

The archipelago was discovered by Europeans in 1774 by Juan Pérez, at Langara Island,[26] and in 1778 by James Cook. In 1794, the Haida captured and sank a pair of European vessels, Ino and Resolution, that were seeking to trade for sea otter pelts.[27] Most of the ships' crew were killed. In 1851, the Haida captured the Georgiana, a ship carrying gold prospectors, and held its crew for ransom for nearly two months.[28]

The islands played an important role during the maritime fur trade era of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. During most of that era the trade in the islands was dominated by Americans.[29] The Oregon Treaty of 1846 put an end to American claims to the islands. Following the discovery of gold in the 1850s the British made efforts to exclude whatever American territorial claims might remain.[30]

The Colony of the Queen Charlotte Islands was a British colony constituting the archipelago of the same name from 1853 to July 1863, when it was amalgamated into the Colony of British Columbia.

The Colony of the Queen Charlotte Islands was created by the Colonial Office in response to the increase in American marine trading activity resulting from the gold rush on Moresby Island in 1851.

No separate administration or capital for the colony was ever established, as its only officer or appointee was James Douglas, who was simultaneously Governor of Vancouver Island. In essence, the colony was merged with the Vancouver Island colony for administrative purposes from the 1850s to 1866 when the Colony of Vancouver Island was merged with the mainland, which until that point was the separate Colony of British Columbia.


The northern Pacific Northwest Coast, showing the position of the archipelago in relation to other islands in the region. The southern half of Prince of Wales Island is Kaigani Haida territory, but is not included in the term Haida Gwaii.

In 1787 Captain George Dixon surveyed the islands. He named the islands the Queen Charlotte Islands after his ship, the Queen Charlotte, which was named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III of the United Kingdom.

Another name, "Washington's Isles," was commonly used by American traders, who frequented the islands in the days of the marine fur trade and considered the islands part of the US-claimed Oregon Country.[4][31][32] Following the 1846 Oregon Treaty, which established the current international borders and made the islands definitively part of Canada, the "Queen Charlotte Islands" name became official.

On December 11, 2009, the British Columbia government announced that legislation would be introduced in mid-2010 to officially rename the Queen Charlotte Islands. The legislation received royal assent on June 3, 2010, formalizing the name change.[2] This name change is officially recognized by all levels of Canadian governments,[33] and also by the United States' National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency name database.[34] The name Haida Gwaii is a modern coinage and was created in the early 1980s as an alternative to the colonial-era name "Queen Charlotte Islands", to recognize the history of the Haida people.[2] "Haida Gwaii" means "islands of the people", while Haida on its own means not only "us" but also "people".

Still in use is the older name Xaadala Gwayee or, in alternative orthography, Xhaaidlagha Gwaayaai, meaning "islands at the boundary of the world".[2] Xhaaydla ("worlds") refers here to the sea and sky.[4]


Tsuga heterophylla Windy Bay
Hemlock forest in Gwaii Hanaas National Park

Research by Simon Fraser University concludes that Haida Gwaii around 55,000 BCE was likely covered with tundra and low meadows that were populated by grazing mammals including caribou and mammoths. Although no mammoth or mastodon fossils were found, the research discovered dung-eating fungi underground in ancient peat by the Cape Ball site in Naikoon Provincial Park on Graham Island.[35] The tundra-like landscape then evolved to a mix of alpine forest and meadows.[35]

The last Pleistocene glaciation receded from the archipelago about 16,000 BCE, about 2,000 years earlier than the rest of the British Columbia Coast's ice age. That, and its subsequent isolation from the mainland, encouraged Haida indigenous and environmental activists in the 1970s to use the term "Galápagos of the North", a unique biocultural zone with many endemic plants and animals. The climate of this temperate north hemisphere forested region, like that of much of the British Columbia and Alaskan coast in the area, is moderated by the North Pacific Current, with heavy rainfall and relatively mild temperatures throughout the year.

The islands are home to the Ta'an Forest, with a wide variety of large endemic trees, including the Sitka spruce, western red cedar, yellow cedar (Nootka cypress), shore pine, western hemlock, mountain hemlock, and red alder. The Flora of the Queen Charlotte Islands[36] describes plants from the islands.

Soils are variable. Peat is common in poorly drained flats and even on sloping ground in the wetter areas. Where drainage is good, the mature soils are podzols which have classic development (well defined eluvial horizon, Ae under Canadian classification) in undisturbed areas.[37] A history of disturbance, as from logging or windthrow, sees the Ae mixed with other horizons and only patchily visible.[38] Kiidk'yaas (Golden Spruce), a naturally occurring genetic-variant yellow-colour Sitka spruce tree, was near the Yakoun River, the largest on Graham Island. It was a popular tourist attraction until it was illegally cut down in 1997 as a protest against the industrial logging practices.

From the spring of 1996 until November 30, 1997, a popular attraction for tourists to the islands was a male albino white raven. He lived around Port Clements and would commonly be seen taking food handouts from locals and visitors alike. He died after making contact with an electrical transformer. The white raven was preserved by former Port Clements residents, taxidermists Roger Britten Sr. and Jr., and is on display in the Port Clements Historical Society's museum.[39]


The climate is oceanic (Cfb), except near the summit of Mount Moresby where the climate is subpolar oceanic (Cfc). It is very similar to the climate of the west coast of Scotland in terms of average temperatures and precipitation, but the latitude is lower than the west coast of Scotland, it is 52° 39', the same as southern Ireland.[40]

In the relatively shielded areas around Tlell and Sandspit annual rainfall averages from 1,200 millimetres (47 in) to 1,400 millimetres (55 in).. Average monthly precipitation is markedly concentrated from October to January, with November the wettest month, averaging about 7.8 inches, most of which is rain, though snow is possible. May through July represent a markedly drier season; July, the driest month, averages about 1.83 inches of rain.

Snowfall is generally moderate, averaging from 10 centimetres (4 in) to 70 centimetres (28 in), though at northerly Langara Island it averages around 100 centimetres (40 in).

Precipitation is typically extremely frequent (especially from autumn to mid-winter), occurring on around two-thirds of all days even in relatively shielded areas, and direct sunlight is scarce, averaging around 3 to 4 hours per day.

2012 controversy around depositing iron in the ocean

In July 2012, entrepreneur Russ George dispersed 100 short tons (91 t) of iron sulphate dust into the Pacific Ocean several hundred miles west of the islands of Haida Gwaii. The Old Massett Village Council was persuaded to finance this geoengineering experiment as a "salmon enhancement project" with $1 million in village funds.[42] The concept was that the formerly iron-deficient waters would produce more phytoplankton that would in turn produce more salmon. George hoped to finance the project by using the carbon sequestration effects of the new plankton as marketable carbon offsets. The project has been plagued by charges of unscientific procedures and recklessness. George contended that 100 tons of iron is negligible compared to what naturally enters the ocean.[43]

Lawyers, environmentalists, and civil society groups are calling the dumping a "blatant violation" of two international moratoriums.[42][44] George said that the Old Massett Village Council and its lawyers approved the effort and at least seven Canadian agencies were aware of it.[43] In May 2013, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation removed George as a director of the company and ended his employment.[45] The 2013 salmon runs increased from 50 million to 226 million fish,[46] but research conducted on 13 major iron-fertilization experiments in the open ocean since 1990 concludes that the method is unproven, and with respect to the Haida Gwaii project, "scientists have seen no evidence that the experiment worked".[47]


Earthquake hazards

The islands are located along the Queen Charlotte Fault, an active transform fault that produces significant earthquakes every 3–30 years. This is the result of the converging of the Pacific and North American Plates along the archipelago's west coast.[48][49] Major earthquakes have occurred in the Haida Gwaii in 1949 and 2012. Though the region is prone to fair geological activity, there is little infrastructure set up to gather accurate information to warn locals of possible threats. Many residents, notably from First Nations communities, have been critical of the fact that they must rely on information coming from neighboring American states such as Washington or Alaska and from the USGS (United States Geological Survey). Regardless of the inconsistencies, Environment Canada does regularly do field tests across the Pacific coast of British Columbia relating to this matter.

The Cascadia subduction zone does pose some additional earthquake risks, but most importantly the subduction zone poses direct tsunami risks to the coastal settlements on the western side of the islands.


Visual arts

The artwork known as Spirit of Haida Gwaii, by Bill Reid, is featured on the reverse of Canadian $20 bills produced between 2004 and 2011.[50] It depicts a Haida chief in a canoe, accompanied by the mythic messengers Raven, Frog and Eagle (the first casting of this sculpture, Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Black Canoe, is on display in the atrium of the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC, the other, Spirit of Haida Gwaii: the Jade Canoe, is on display in Vancouver Airport). Haida art is also frequently seen on large monumental-sized cedar totem poles and dugout canoes, hand-crafted gold and silver jewellery, and even as cartoons in the form of Haida manga.

Haida language

The Haida language was proposed for classification as part of the Nadene family of languages on the basis of a few similarities with Athabaskan–Eyak–Tlingit. Many linguists, however, consider the evidence insufficient and continue to regard Haida as a language isolate. All 50 remaining speakers of Haida are over 70 years old. Telus and Gwaii Trust recently completed a project to bring broadband internet to the island via a 150 km (93 mi) microwave relay. This enables interactive research to be carried out on the more than 80 CDs of language, story and spoken history of the people.

In popular culture

See also


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  2. ^ a b c d e "Haida Gwaii". BC Geographical Names.
  3. ^ a b "Ship X̱aayda Kil Glossary" (PDF). sd50.bc.ca. Skidegate Haida Immersion Program. March 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Queen Charlotte Islands". BC Geographical Names.
  5. ^ Haida Nation; Her Majesty the Queen in Her Right of the Province of British Columbia (Autumn 2015). "Amending Agreement of the Kunst'aa guu - Kunst'aayah Reconciliation Protocol" (PDF). Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  6. ^ Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. "Bill 18 — 2010: Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act". Queen's Printer. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  8. ^ "History: Where we've come from (our history)". Masset BC. Village of Masset. Retrieved 19 February 2018. Haida Gwaii has been home to the Haida since time immemorial, and evidence of their habitation of the Islands dates back 13,000 years.
  9. ^ History of the Haida Nation, Council of the Haida Nation, retrieved 2014-08-16: "Today, Haida people make up half of the 5000 people living on the islands."
  10. ^ Erwin, Ryan (30 June 2015). "Heiltsuk and Haida nations finalize peace treaty". Global News. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  11. ^ Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society webpage. Retrieved 2014-02-02
  12. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20121023112826/http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "SGang Gwaay" (PDF). whc.unesco.org.
  14. ^ a b Hume, Mark (Sep 24, 2014). "Underwater discovery near Haida Gwaii could rewrite human history". The Globe and Mail.
  15. ^ Byun, S.A.; Koop, B.F.; Reimchen, T.E. (1997). "North American black bear mtDNA phylogeography: implications for morphology and the Haida Gwaii glacial refugium controversy". Evolution. 51 (5): 1647–1653. doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.1997.tb01487.x.
  16. ^ Moss, M.L. (2008). "Islands coming out of concealment: traveling to Haida Gwaii on the northwest coast of North America". The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology. 3 (1): 35–53. doi:10.1080/15564890801906587.
  17. ^ Keller, James (6 June 2014). "Archeologists to launch historic fishing expedition off B.C.'s Haida Gwaii". Prince George Citizen. Canadian Press.
  18. ^ Shurr, T.G.; Sherry, S. T. (17 June 2004). "Mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome diversity and the peopling of the Americas: Evolutionary and demographic evidence". Am. J. Hum. Biol. 16 (4): 420–439. doi:10.1002/ajhb.20041.
  19. ^ Fedje, D.W.; Christensen, T. (1999). "Modeling Paleoshorelines and Locating Early Holocene Coastal Sites in Haida Gwaii". American Antiquity. 64 (4): 635–652. doi:10.2307/2694209. JSTOR 2694209.
  20. ^ Wallace, Douglas C.; Torroni, Antonio (2009). "American Indian prehistory as written in the mitochondrial DNA: a review". Human Biology. 81 (5): 509–521. doi:10.3378/027.081.0602. PMID 20504178.
  21. ^ Malyarchuk, Boris (2011). "Ancient links between Siberians and Native Americans revealed by subtyping the Y chromosome haplogroup Q1a". Journal of Human Genetics. 56 (8): 583–588. doi:10.1038/jhg.2011.64. PMID 21677663. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  22. ^ Jones, M.L.; Swartz, S.L.; Leatherwood., S. (1984). The gray whale "Eschrichtius robustus.". Academic Press.
  23. ^ Charri, Anne-Victoire (1984). "The Discovery of the Koryaks and Their Perception of the World". Arctic. 37 (4): 441–445. doi:10.14430/arctic2226. JSTOR 40510306.
  24. ^ a b Krupnik, Igor. "Koryak". Arctic Studies Center. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  25. ^ Sloan, N.A. (2003). "Evidence of California-area abalone shell in Haida trade and culture". Journal Canadien d'Archéologie. 27 (2): 273–286. JSTOR 41103451.
  26. ^ Trigger, Bruce Graham; Washburn, Wilcomb E. (1996). The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas: North America. Volume I. Cambridge University Press. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-521-57393-1. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  27. ^ "Searching For Shipwrecks In The Waters Of Haida Gwaii, B.C." CBC.ca Stroumboulopolous Tonight. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  28. ^ Canadian Press (30 June 2014). "Underwater researchers explore Haida Gwaii". Metro News (Victoria).
  29. ^ Lillard, Charles (1995). Just east of sundown: the Queen Charlotte Islands. TouchWood Editions. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-920663-34-9. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  30. ^ Glover, William (1 April 2004). Charting Northern Waters: Essays for the Centenary of the Canadian Hydrographic Service. McGill-Queen's Press – MQUP. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-7735-2710-2. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  31. ^ Alcedo, Antonio de; Arrowsmith, Aaron (18 September 2017). "The Geographical and Historical Dictionary of America and the West Indies: Containing an Entire Translation of the Spanish Work of Colonel Don Antonio de Alcedo, with Large Additions and Compilations from Modern Voyages and Travels and from Original and Authentic Information". James Carpenter, ... Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, ... White, Cochrane and Company and Murray, ... London; Parker, Oxford; and Deighton, Cambridge. – via Google Books.
  32. ^ www.adiyukon.com, ADI Interactive -. "Historical Map Society of British Columbia". hmsbc.library.ubc.ca.
  33. ^ "Toporama". Atlas of Canada. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  34. ^ Haida Gwaii at GEOnet Names Server
  35. ^ a b Shore, Randy (Oct 6, 2015). "Mammoths may have roamed Haida Gwaii 57,000 years ago". Vancouver Sun.
  36. ^ Calder, James A., Roy L. Taylor, and Gerald A. Mulligan (1968). Flora of the Queen Charlotte Islands. Ottawa: Research Branch, Canada Department of Agriculture.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  37. ^ Banner, A., W.H. MacKenzie, J. Pojar, A. MacKinnon, S.C. Saunders, and H. Klassen. 2014. A field guide to ecosystem classification and identification for Haida Gwaii. Prov. B.C., Victoria, B.C. Land Manag. Handb. 68. http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/pubs/Docs/Lmh/Lmh68.htm
  38. ^ Kranabetter, J. Marty; Williams, Harry; Morin, Jacques (2009). "Ecological descriptions of Pacific golden chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus) habitat and estimates of its extent in Haida Gwaii". BC Journal of Ecosystems and Management. 10 (1): 59–67.
  39. ^ Port Clements Historical Society "White Raven" display case information
  40. ^ "Harlow latitude and longitude".
  41. ^ Environment CanadaCanadian Climate Normals 1971–2000, accessed 4 December 2011
  42. ^ a b Lucas, Martin (October 15, 2012). "World's biggest geoengineering experiment 'violates' UN rules". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  43. ^ a b Fountain, Henry (October 18, 2012). "A Rogue Climate Experiment Outrages Scientists". New York Times. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  44. ^ "Environment Canada launches probe into massive iron sulfate dump off Haida Gwaii coast". APTN National News. October 16, 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  45. ^ "Haida announce termination of Russ George". Canada Newswire. 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  46. ^ Zubrin, Robert (2014-04-22). "The Pacific's Salmon Are Back — Thank Human Ingenuity". Nationalreview.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
  47. ^ Tollefson, Jeff (2017). "Iron-dumping ocean experiment sparks controversy". Nature. 545 (7655): 393–394. doi:10.1038/545393a. PMID 28541342.
  48. ^ Barrie, J.V.; Conway, K.; Harris, P.T. (2013). "The Queen Charlotte Fault, British Columbia: seafloor anatomy of a transform fault and its influence on sediment processes". Geo-Marine Letters. 33 (4): 311–318. doi:10.1007/s00367-013-0333-3.
  49. ^ "On This Day August 22, 1949", National Post, pp. B14, August 22, 2008
  50. ^ "Banknotes". Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  51. ^ "R.J. Harlick - The Books". www.rjharlick.ca.
  52. ^ http://www.canadianbucketlist.com.ca/haida
  53. ^ http://tvo.org/programs/masters-of-the-pacific-coast-tribes-of-the-northwest
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External links

1949 Queen Charlotte Islands earthquake

The 1949 Queen Charlotte Islands earthquake struck the sparsely populated Queen Charlotte Islands and the Pacific Northwest coast at 8:01 p.m. PDT on August 21. The shock had a surface wave magnitude of 8.1 and a maximum Mercalli Intensity of VIII (Severe).

The interplate earthquake began in the ocean bottom just off the rugged coast of Graham Island. It ruptured along the Queen Charlotte Fault both northward and southward more than 500 km (311 mi). Shaking was felt throughout British Columbia, parts of Washington, Oregon, Alberta, the Yukon, and Alaska. No deaths were reported in this earthquake.

2012 Haida Gwaii earthquake

The 2012 Haida Gwaii earthquake occurred just after 8:04 p.m. PDT on October 27. The shock had a moment magnitude of 7.8 and a maximum Mercalli Intensity of VIII (Severe). The earthquake's epicentre was on Moresby Island of the Haida Gwaii archipelago (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). This was the second largest Canadian earthquake ever recorded by a seismometer, after the 1949 Queen Charlotte Islands earthquake, about 135 kilometres (84 mi) away.

Alliford Bay, British Columbia

Alliford Bay is a bay, and was the location of a town, on Moresby Island on Haida Gwaii. It is 15 kilometers west of Sandspit and is now a terminus for BC Ferries and North Pacific Seaplanes.

During the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Air Force flew the PBY-5 Catalina in and out of the air force base located at Alliford Bay. From 1941 to 1943, the RCAF placed its High Frequency Directing capabilities at the disposal of the Royal Canadian Navy. The station played a role in the RCN's radio intelligence operations against the Japanese. It was shut down in 1945.Today all that is left of the base is a red cedar mill and a dry land sort. Several inhabited homes are still at Alliford Bay.

Colony of the Queen Charlotte Islands

The Colony of the Queen Charlotte Islands was a British colony constituting the archipelago of the same name (currently officially named Haida Gwaii) from 1853 to July 1863, when it was amalgamated into the Colony of British Columbia.

The Queen Charlotte Colony was created by the Colonial Office in response to the increase in American marine trading activity resulting from the gold rush on Moresby Island in 1851. No separate administration or capital for the colony was ever established, as its only officer or appointee was James Douglas, who was simultaneously Governor of Vancouver Island.

Cumshewa, British Columbia

Cumshewa is a former village of the Haida people located on the north flank of Cumshewa Inlet in the Haida Gwaii of the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada. It is named for Cumshewa, an important Haida chief during the era of the Maritime Fur Trade (late 17th and early 19th Centuries), as is Cumshewa Head, an important headland and point on the north side of the opening of Cumshewa Inlet, which pierces Moresby Island from the east and was the location of several historical Haida villages.

The name Cumshewa Inlet was coined by captains in the marine fur trade after the most important local chief, Cumshewa. The name was long in use on marine charts but was made official in the British Columbia gazette on April 6, 1926. The last few inhabitants of Cumshewa were encouraged to move to Skidegate in 1926.

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area, and Haida Heritage Site, usually referred to simply as Gwaii Haanas, is located in southernmost Haida Gwaii (formerly known as Queen Charlotte Islands), 130 kilometres (81 miles) off the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. Gwaii Haanas protects an archipelago of 138 islands, the largest being Moresby Island and the southernmost being Kunghit Island. "Gwaii Haanas" means "Islands of Beauty" in X̱aayda kíl, the language of the Haida people.

The Haida Heritage Site is within the territory of the Haida people, who have lived in Haida Gwaii for at least 14,000 years. Ḵ'aygang.nga (the Haida canon of oral histories) show Haida lived in Gwaii Haanas when the first trees arrived at Xaagyah Gwaay.yaay (Bolkus Islands) as glaciers retreated. Pollen samples indicate trees first arrived 14,500 years ago.Numerous films have covered Gwaii Haanas, including the 2011 short National Parks Project, directed by Scott Smith and scored by Sarah Harmer, Jim Guthrie and Bry Webb.

Haida people

Haida (English: , Haida: X̱aayda, X̱aadas, X̱aad, X̱aat) are a nation and ethnic group native to, or otherwise associated with, Haida Gwaii (a Canadian archipelago) and the Haida language. Haida language, which is an isolate language, has historically been spoken across Haida Gwaii and certain islands on the Alaska Panhandle, where it has been spoken for at least 14,000 years. Prior to the 19th century, Haida would speak a number of coastal First Nations languages such as Lingít, Nisg̱a'a and Sm'álgyax. After settlers' arrival and colonisation of the Haida through residential schools, few Haida speak X̱aayda/X̱aad kíl, though there are many efforts to revive the language.

The Haida national government, the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN), is based in the archipelago of Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) in northern British Columbia, Canada. A group known as the Kaigani Haida live across the international border of the Dixon Entrance on Prince of Wales Island (Tlingit: Taan) in Southeast Alaska, United States; Taan was traditionally and still is in Lingít territory. The Kaigani Haida migrated there in the late 18th century. Haida have occupied Haida Gwaii since at least 14,000 BP. Pollen fossils and oral histories both confirm that Haida ancestors were present when the first tree, a Lodgepole pine, arrived at SG̱uuluu Jaads Saahlawaay, the westernmost of the Swan Islands located in Gwaii Haanas.In British Columbia, the term "Haida Nation" can refer both to Haida people as a whole and their government, the Council of the Haida Nation. While all people of Haida ancestry are entitled to Haida citizenship, the Kaigani are also part of the Central Council Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska government. The Haida language has sometimes been classified as one of the Na-Dene group, but is usually considered to be an isolate.Haida society continues to produce a robust and highly stylized art form, a leading component of Northwest Coast art. While artists frequently have expressed this in large wooden carvings (totem poles), Chilkat weaving, or ornate jewellery, in the 21st century, younger people are also making art in popular expression such as Haida manga.

In June 2017, the first feature-length Haida-language film, The Edge of the Knife, was in production with an all-Haida cast. The actors learned some Haida for their performances in the film. Gwaii Edenshaw is the director and co-screenwriter.

Insular Mountains

The Insular Mountains are a range of mountains in the Pacific Coast Ranges on the Coast of British Columbia, Canada, comprising the Vancouver Island Ranges and Queen Charlotte Mountains. The Insular Mountains are rugged, particularly on Vancouver Island where peaks in Strathcona Provincial Park rise to elevations of more than 2000m (6,600 ft). The highest of these mountains is Golden Hinde on Vancouver Island, which rises to 2,196.818 m (7,207 ft).

Although the Coast Mountain Range is usually referred to as the westernmost range of the Pacific Cordillera (since it is the westernmost range on the main landmass at that point), the Insular Mountains are the true westernmost range.


Kiusta (Xaad kil: K’yuusda) located on Haida Gwaii is the oldest Northern Haida village: and the site of first recorded contact between the Haida and Europeans in 1774. Haida lived in this village for thousands of years, due to the sheltered nature of its location it was used for boats offloading, especially in rough waters. Kiusta is one of the oldest archeological sites of human use in British Columbia, and continues to be a site for cultural revitalisation.

List of rivers of British Columbia

The following is a partial list of rivers of British Columbia, organized by watershed. Some large creeks are included either because of size or historical importance

(See Alphabetical List of British Columbia rivers ). Also included are lakes that are "in-line" connecting upper tributaries of listed rivers, or at their heads.


Masset , formerly Massett, is a village in Haida Gwaii in British Columbia, Canada. It is located on the northern coast of Graham Island, the largest island in the archipelago, and is approximately 50 km (31 mi) west of mainland British Columbia. It is the western terminus of the Yellowhead Highway and is served by Masset Airport, with flights to Vancouver and Prince Rupert. During the maritime fur trade of the early 19th century, Masset was a key trading site. It was incorporated as a village municipality on May 11, 1961.

Moresby Island

Moresby Island (Haida: Gwaii Haanas) is a large island (3,399.39 km2 or 1,312.51 sq mi) that forms part of the Haida Gwaii archipelago (formerly known as Queen Charlotte Islands) in British Columbia, Canada, located at 52.75°N 131.8333333°W / 52.75; -131.8333333. Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site includes Moresby and other islands. The island, together with its numerous nearby smaller islands and islets in the southern portion of the archipelago, is defined by Statistics Canada as Skeena-Queen Charlotte E, with a population of 402 as of the 2006 census. Almost all of its population resided in the unincorporated community of Sandspit, on the northeast corner of Moresby. The total land area of the electoral area is 3,399.39 km2 (1,312.51 sq mi).

Moresby Island is the 175th largest island in the world, and the 32nd largest island in Canada.

On October 27, 2012, an earthquake of magnitude 7.7 (the strongest earthquake in Canada since the 1949 Queen Charlotte Islands earthquake) was epicentred at a depth of 17.5 kilometres (10.9 miles) under the island.

Queen Charlotte, British Columbia

The Village of Queen Charlotte, more commonly known by its residents as Charlotte, is a village municipality on Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) in the province of British Columbia, Canada. It is located on the southern end of Graham Island at Skidegate Inlet and is a member municipality of the North Coast Regional District.

It was incorporated in 2005, having previously been represented as part of Electoral Area F of that regional district, which was coterminous with the Queen Charlotte Islands (which now comprises Electoral Areas D and E).

The town site was established when the first sawmill in the archipelago began operating in 1908. In the wake of World War I, additional work force was needed to supply allied warplanes with lumber. The town infrastructure quickly developed, offering public education, a hospital, general stores and other amenities, even a newspaper.

Logging and fishing were the main source of jobs in Queen Charlotte when the demand for lumber again increased by the second half of the 20th century. Today, few inhabitants are working in these resource-based jobs and a recent shift towards tourism-oriented employment has been observed, although the main economic driver is government jobs, including: hospital workers,school district, BC Ferries, local Forestry and Parks Offices etc. Queen Charlotte was incorporated in 2005 and offers several motels, shops, restaurants, a gas station and auto repair, a credit union, RCMP station and a hospital. It is also the location of the Queen Charlotte Visitor Centre, which is open year-round. With its small harbour, Queen Charlotte is often the starting-point for chartered tours into Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site on southern Moresby Island.

Queen Charlotte is just 9 km (5.6 mi) to Skidegate with its BC Ferries landing and connections to Prince Rupert.

Queen Charlotte Fault

The Queen Charlotte Fault is an active transform fault that marks the boundary of the North American and the Pacific Plates. It is Canada's right-lateral strike-slip equivalent to the San Andreas Fault to the south in California. The Queen Charlotte Fault forms a triple junction on its south with the Cascadia subduction zone and the Explorer Ridge (the Queen Charlotte Triple Junction).

The fault is named for the Queen Charlotte Islands (now Haida Gwaii) which lie just north of the triple junction. The Queen Charlotte Fault continues northward along the Alaskan coast where it is called the Fairweather Fault. The two segments are collectively called the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault System.

The fault has been the source of large, very large, and great earthquakes. The study of the Queen Charlotte Fault affords further important information applicable to other similar faults throughout the world.

Queen Charlotte Mountains

The Queen Charlotte Mountains are a mountain range comprising all mountains and small mountain ranges of Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia, Canada. It is the northernmost subrange of the Insular Mountains. They are subdivided into the Queen Charlotte Ranges, which comprise a small part of southwestern Graham Island and most of Moresby Island, and the Skidegate Plateau, which runs NW-SE on central Graham Island and includes the northeastern tip of Moresby Island. To the plateau's northeast is the Queen Charlotte Lowland, which is part of the Hecate Depression and includes the Argonaut Plain.Mount Moresby is the highest mountain associated with the Queen Charlotte Mountains, at 1,164 m (3,819 ft).

School District 50 Haida Gwaii

School District 50 Haida Gwaii is a school district in British Columbia, Canada. It covers Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) off the north coast of British Columbia immediately west of Prince Rupert. Centered in Queen Charlotte City, it includes the communities of Sandspit, Masset, Skidegate, and Port Clements.

Spirit of Haida Gwaii

The Spirit of Haida Gwaii is a sculpture by British Columbia Haida artist Bill Reid (1920–1998). There are two versions of it: the black canoe and the jade canoe. The black canoe features on Canadian $20 bills issued between 2004 and 2012.

Tanu, Canada

Tanu (Haida: T'aanuu llnagaay) is a traditional Haida village site located on Tanu Island, Haida Gwaii, opposite of Kung'a Island in Laskeek Bay, within the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site.

The village site is designated as a National Historic Site of Canada.

Climate data for Sandspit
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.4
Average high °C (°F) 5.6
Average low °C (°F) 0.7
Record low °C (°F) −13.9
Record low wind chill −22.9 −24.1 −22.9 −10.8 −4.2 −0.2 3.8 4.0 0.7 −10.7 −26 −20.8 −26
Average precipitation mm (inches) 168.7
Average rainfall mm (inches) 148.8
Average snowfall cm (inches) 22.3
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 22.3 19.7 20.7 19.8 17.8 16.0 14.1 13.8 16.9 22.6 23.7 22.8 230.2
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 19.6 17.6 20.1 19.6 17.7 16.0 14.1 13.9 16.9 22.6 23.0 21.3 222.4
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 5.5 4.4 2.9 1.3 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 1.7 2.9 18.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 48.6 78.1 118.1 154.6 199.1 176.8 186.6 186.8 141.8 97.9 63.0 47.0 1,498.4
Percent possible sunshine 19.3 28.2 32.2 36.9 40.5 34.9 36.7 40.8 37.1 29.7 24.1 19.9 31.7
Source: Environment Canada[41]
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