Dreaming of SG̲ang Gwaay

Graham Richard 

Twenty-four Haida citizens traveled south to SGang Gwaay early in the morning Saturday, August 10. Haida Style vessels Tluu Isguudang canoe landing ashore and K‘aaGwaay supernatural being five finned killer whale kept the travelers tucked away safe and warm from the crisp morning as they departed Kyahjuu Kun Beattie Point.

Along the way they spotted an array of the creatures including kun Humpback whales, kuuxan Tufted puffins and a variety of other birds. After the three-hour journey, participants disembarked at K‘aadajins Llnagaay, the village site on the island’s northern shore. There Tllga Kyaats’as XaaydaGaay Watchmen greeted the group before visiting the carved cedar monuments at Nang Sdins. They then walked in groups to the village of Nang Sdins. Kuuniisii ancestors raised many gyaaGalang carved cedar monuments at the site, and their resilience continues to inspire new generations.

Oh my goodness. It was a real awakening of my Haida spirit. It was very empowering, the trip of a lifetime. It was a phenomenal trip. Everywhere I went a week ahead of time I would tell everyone, “We’re going to SGang Gwaay!” — Shawnae Robinson

Everyone was really excited to be spending a whole day in Gwaii Haanas and especially enthusiastic to visit SGang Gwaay and K’uuna Llnagaay. On the three-hour journey, James Cowpar pointed out various villages and told us about our histories. We even saw a humpback whale feeding and a shark, puffins and sealions going about their daily activities. Arriving at SGang Gwaay was like a family reunion! Everyone was excited to see the Watchmen, David and Vince, who gave us an incredible tour of the site and shared their cultural knowledge with us. It was also a great opportunity to connect with other Haida and spend that quality time with them. Everyone was so grateful for the opportunity and Haida Style staff were so gracious and thoughtful. We felt spoiled and had an unforgettable day! — Natasha-Faye Parrish

It was such an amazing opportunity to travel to SGang Gwaay! It’s a beautiful place on Haida Gwaii. Huge haawa to all who made this day possible. – Jennifer Smith

Last weekend was epic and absolutely life changing! On our way to K‘uuna Llnagaay and SGang Gwaay, we saw huge sea lions and a couple of whales! At the village, Watchman David Dixon toured us around and told us the stories about each pole and big house. It was so amazing to hear and I’m so grateful to have visited our ancestors’ villages. Haawa, haawa, haawa to everyone who made this day so incredible! — Fawn Williams


CHN partnered with Old Massett Village Council, Kaa Dllxaaws Naay Skidegate Band Council, and Gwaii Haanas to sponsor and organize this important visit. Photos: Haida Laas/Natasha-Faye Parrish

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