Skidegate /ˈskɪdɪɡɪt/ (Haida: Hlg̱aagilda)[2] is a Haida community in Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) in British Columbia, Canada. It is located on the southeast coast of Graham Island,[3] the largest island in the archipelago, and is approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) west of mainland British Columbia across Hecate Strait. Skidegate, which is located on Skidegate Indian Reserve No. 1 and was formerly home to the Skidegate Mission[4][5] is also the northern terminal for the BC Ferries service between Graham Island and Alliford Bay on Moresby Island.

According to tradition, the village was named after an earlier village chief, Sg̱iida-gidg̱a Iihllngas = "Son of the Chiton”][6] whose name late 18th-century traders in sea otter pelts recorded as Skidegate.[7] Between 1790 and 1820 the community was a hub for the exploitation of sea otter furs.[7][8]

The Haida Heritage Centre is located in Skidegate along the town's Eastern boundary.

Haida Houses
Houses and totem poles, Skidegate, 1878
Indian Reserve
View of the Kay Llnagaay beach in Skidegate.
View of the Kay Llnagaay beach in Skidegate.
Skidegate is located in British Columbia
Location of Skidegate in Haida Gwaii
Coordinates: 53°16′02″N 131°59′26″W / 53.26722°N 131.99056°WCoordinates: 53°16′02″N 131°59′26″W / 53.26722°N 131.99056°W
Country Canada
Province British Columbia
RegionHaida Gwaii
Regional districtSkeena-Queen Charlotte
 • Chief CouncillorWillard Wilson
 • Total5.65 km2 (2.18 sq mi)
28 m (92 ft)
 • Total781
 • Density138.3/km2 (358/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
Highways Hwy 16 (TCH)
WaterwaysHecate Strait

See also


  1. ^ Statistics Canada. 2006 Census
  2. ^ "FirstVoices: Hlg̱aagilda X̱aayda Kil: words". Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  3. ^ BC Names/GeoBC entry "Skidegate (community)"
  4. ^ BC Names/GeoBC entry "Skidegate Mission (community)"
  5. ^ BC Names/GeoBC entry "Skidegate 1 (Indian reserve)"
  6. ^ Hlg̱aagilda X̱aayda Kil, Haida language at FirstVoices. Accessed 1 July 2017.
  7. ^ a b G.F. MacDonald,[Skidegate] 1983, SFU Bill Reid Centre. Accessed 1 July 2017.
  8. ^ Skidegate, (Archived link). Accessed 1 July 2017.

External links

Amala (mythology)

Amala is a mythological giant who supports the world in the mythology of the Tsimshian, Nass, Skidegate, Kaigani, Massett, and Tlingit Native Americans. He supports the Earth which he balances on a spinning pole. He receives an annual application of wild duck-oil to his muscles from a servant which brings relief to his muscles. The belief is that when all the ducks are hunted out, there will no longer be any duck-oil available in the world. At this point, Amala dies and the world topples off the pole and comes to an end.

Council of the Haida Nation

X̱aaydaG̱a Waadlux̱an Naay The Council of the Haida Nation ("CHN") is the elected government of the Haida Nation. The council consists of a president and vice-president elected by popular vote, twelve regional representatives from four electoral regions, and one appointed representative from each of the Old Massett Village Council and Skidegate Band Council.The Haida Nation is engaged in a legal title dispute regarding their territories, the islands of Haida Gwaii and surrounding waters, asserting that the Crown has never legally acquired title to these areas, and has illegally infringed upon Haida Title and rights within the territories through the imposition of Canadian sovereignty and the extraction of resources under Canadian authority. There are two main Haida villages on Haida Gwaii, G̱aaw, known in English as Old Massett, and Hlg̱aagilda, known in English as Skidegate, while Haida populations in Prince Rupert, British Columbia and Vancouver are also represented on the Council of the Haida Nation. The CHN recognizes the separate jurisdiction of the Kaigani Haida, in southern Alaska, who are members of the Haida Nation, but are governed by the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.

All Haida territories were in the past also claimed by Russia and Spain as well as the United States. Once Russian and Spanish claims to Haida Gwaii were given up in treaties with Britain and the United States, the islands continued to be claimed by the United States until the British claim to them was formalized by the creation of the Colony of the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1853. Russian claims to Kaigani Haida territory were sold to the United States in 1867 with the Alaska Purchase.

The Council, formed in 1973, has been involved in many conflicts over the fate of its territories, which have been part of Canada since 1871, and by the Colony of British Columbia and the Colony of the Queen Charlotte Islands prior to that. No treaties between the Crown and the governments of the Haida were ever signed, as in most of the rest of the current Canadian province of British Columbia.

The Constitution of the Haida Nation was accepted formally in 2003.

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.


FirstVoices is a web-based project to support Indigenous peoples' teaching and archiving of language and culture. It is administered by the First Peoples' Cultural Council in British Columbia.FirstVoices was initially launched in 2003 to aid in the preservation of the remaining 34 Indigenous languages in B.C. It provides a space for Indigenous community language teams to archive their languages by recording and uploading words, phrases, songs and stories to a secure, centralized database. Some archives are publicly accessible, but others are password-protected at the request of the individual language community. FirstVoices hosts 47 (36 public and 11 private) language archives in B.C. and also supports 70 First Nations communities in Canada, the USA and Australia. Content is entirely controlled and managed by community language administrators.

FirstVoices provides the following tools so that each archive can be customized to the languages it serves:

An alphabet provides the written character set for a language, with sample sound files for each character.

A dictionary provides a word list, with translations, definitions, sounds, images and video.

A phrase book contains everyday conversational language with related text, sound, image and video files to support language learning.

Haida Gwaii

Haida Gwaii (; Haida kíl: X̱aaydag̱a Gwaay.yaay / X̱aayda gwaay, literally "Islands of the Haida people"), 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), 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". 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 between British Columbia and the Haida people.The islands are the heartland of the Haida Nation. Haida people have lived on the islands for 13,000 years, and currently make up approximately half of the population. 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. 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 Heritage Centre

The Haida Heritage Centre is the premier cultural centre and museum of the Haida people. It is located in Skidegate, a community on Graham Island in Haida Gwaii off the Pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada. The centre is situated just south of the site of a historical village in Kay Llnagaay (pronounced kie-il-na-guy, which means "Town of Sea Lions"). The Centre was built and is managed by Gwaalagaa Naay, an economic development branch of the Skidegate Band Council, the owners of the site. It is one of the major aboriginal cultural tourism attractions in Haida Gwaii and has been described as "a place for the Haida voice to be heard." Educational programs are offered in partnership with School District 50 Haida Gwaii, the University of Northern British Columbia, and with the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society.The Centre includes an interpretive centre, temporary exhibit space, Performing House, Canoe house, Carving Shed, the Bill Reid Teaching Centre, Program Management Centre, an expanded Haida Gwaii Museum, a gift shop and a small restaurant and cafe.

Haida language

Haida (X̱aat Kíl, X̱aadas Kíl, X̱aayda Kil, Xaad kil,) is the language of the Haida people, spoken in the Haida Gwaii archipelago off the coast of Canada and on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska. An endangered language, Haida currently has 14 native speakers, though revitalization efforts are underway. At the time of the European arrival at Haida Gwaii in 1774, it is estimated that Haida speakers numbered about 15,000. Epidemics soon led to a drastic reduction in the Haida population, which became limited to three villages: Masset, Skidegate, and Hydaburg. Positive attitudes towards assimilation combined with the ban on speaking Haida in residential schools led to a sharp decline in the use of the Haida language among the Haida people, and today almost all ethnic Haida use English to communicate.

Classification of the Haida language is a matter of controversy, with some linguists placing it in the Na-Dené language family and others arguing that it is a language isolate. Haida itself is split between Northern and Southern dialects, which differ primarily in phonology. The Northern Haida dialects have developed pharyngeal consonants, typologically uncommon sounds which are also found in some of the nearby Salishan and Wakashan languages.

The Haida sound system includes ejective consonants, glottalized sonorants, contrastive vowel length, and phonemic tone. The nature of tone differs between the dialects, and in Alaskan Haida it is primarily a pitch accent system. Syllabic laterals appear in all dialects of Haida, but are only phonemic in Skidegate Haida. Extra vowels which are not present in Haida words occur in nonsense words in Haida songs. There are a number of systems for writing Haida using the Latin alphabet, each of which represents the sounds of Haida differently.

While Haida has nouns and verbs, it does not have adjectives and has few true adpositions. English adjectives translate into verbs in Haida, for example 'láa "(to be) good", and English prepositional phrases are usually expressed with Haida "relational nouns", for instance Alaskan Haida dítkw 'side facing away from the beach, towards the woods'. Haida verbs are marked for tense, aspect, mood, and evidentiality, and person is marked by pronouns that are cliticized to the verb. Haida also has hundreds of classifiers. Haida has the rare direct-inverse word order type, where both SOV and OSV words orders occur depending on the "potency" of the subject and object of the verb. Haida also has obligatory possession, where certain types of nouns cannot stand alone and require a possessor.

List of Haida villages

This is a list of Haida villages, located in Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) and Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. The following list includes material from John R. Swanton's The Indian Tribes of North America, publ. 1953, and from the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa.

MV Northern Adventure

M/V Northern Adventure is a roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ferry operated by BC Ferries. She sails two routes: the scenic Inside Passage route between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert and the Haida Gwaii crossing between Prince Rupert and Skidegate.

MV Queen of Prince Rupert

MV Queen of Prince Rupert was a roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ferry operated by BC Ferries that provided the main surface transport link between the Queen Charlotte Islands and mainland British Columbia, connecting Skidegate with Prince Rupert across the Hecate Strait (thus linking two segments of Highway 16). The vessel also ran on the Prince Rupert-Port Hardy Inside Passage route during the low season.

Built in 1965, Queen of Prince Rupert was decommissioned on April 20, 2009 following the launch of Northern Expedition and was replaced by Northern Adventure on the Prince Rupert-Skidegate Route.On May 4, 2011 the official registration of Queen of Prince Rupert was closed. The vessel was sold to Goundar Shipping Company of Fiji and renamed MV Lomaiviti Princess. The vessel departed British Columbia waters bound for Fiji on August 5, 2011.

Maude Island

Maude Island is an island in the Haida Gwaii archipelago of the North Coast region of British Columbia, Canada. It is located within Skidegate Inlet, a large saltwater inlet within Graham Island. It is the larger of two islands in British Columbia by that name, the other being a small islet offshore from Nanoose Bay and Lantzville on southeastern Vancouver Island.It is the location of the former Haida village known as Haina. "Ha'ina" is the name of the island in Haad Kil, the Haida language.

New Clew, British Columbia

New Clew, also Clue, Kloo, Kliew, Klue, Clew Indian Reserve, is a locality and First Nations reserve of the Haida people, located on the north shore of Louise Island, which is located in Cumshewa Inlet in the Queen Charlotte Islands of the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada.

New Clew is believed to be the site of the historically important Haida village of Tanu or Tlanú, a National Historic Site of Canada which has been cited by anthropologist Wilson Duff as being "of historical importance". "Kloo" is the word in the Skidegate dialect of the Haida language for "canoe".

Across the inlet from New Clew is Cumshewa, which is near the site of another historical village, Djí-gua.

"...Kloo (Tlanú)... would seem to be a very modern town. In recent times the people of this town moved to a place where the so-called "Kloo Oil Works" were built, not far from the old site of Djí-gua, but after living there a few years, passed on the Skidegate." (Stanton, J.R., The Haida; Jesup Expedition, vol 5, pt 1, 1905, pp.96-97)

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 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.

Skidegate Band Council

The Skidegate Band Council, also known as the Skidegate First Nation, is a band government of the Haida people, one of two of the Haida Tribal Society aka the Council of the Haida Nation. Its offices are located in Skidegate, British Columbia.

Skidegate Channel

Skidegate Channel is a strait in the Haida Gwaii archipelago of the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada. It divides the archipelago's two main islands, Graham Island to the north and Moresby Island to the south.

Skidegate Inlet

Skidegate Inlet is an inlet on the east coast of the Haida Gwaii archipelago of the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada. It is the easternmost of a series of waterways separating Graham Island to the north from Moresby Island to the south. The community of Skidegate is located on its northern shore, on Graham Island.

Yakoun River

The Yakoun River is the largest river on Haida Gwaii, off the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Estimated to be 55 to 60 kilometres (34 to 37 mi) in length, it is located on Graham Island, the northernmost and largest of the archipelago, and runs in a twisting course generally northwards from Yakoun Lake, which lies near the island's south-central region, just northwards over Slatechuck Mountain from Skidegate Inlet, entering saltwater at Masset Inlet, a large saltwater bay located in the heart of the island.

The Yakoun was the location - until its destruction - of Kiidk'yaas, a unique gold-coloured sitka spruce.

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