history of the haida nation
Haida people have occupied Haida Gwaii since
time immemorial. Our traditional territory
encompasses parts of southern Alaska, the
archipelago of Haida Gwaii and its surrounding
waters. Our pre-contact population was in the
tens of thousands in several dozen towns
dispersed throughout the islands. During the time
of contact our population fell to about 600, this
was due to introduced disease including measles, typhoid and smallpox.
Today, Haida people make up half of the 5000
people living on the islands. Haida reside
throughout the islands but are concentrated
in two main centres, Old Massett at the north
end of Graham Island and Skidegate at the south end. Besides these two communities there are many 2000 more Haida scattered throughout the world. Vancouver, 770 km south of Haida Gwaii, has a large
population as does Prince Rupert which is 100 km east across Hecate Srait.
The Haida Nation collectively holds Hereditary and Aboriginal Title and
Rights to Haida Territories and the cultural and intellectual property rights
of the Haida Nation.
All people of Haida ancestry are citizens of the Haida Nation. Every Haida
citizen has the right of access to all Haida Gwaii resources for cultural
reasons, and for food or commerce consistent with the Laws of Nature
as reflected in the laws of the Haida Nation.
Our culture is born of respect, and intimacy with the land and sea and the
air around us. Like the forests, the roots of our people are intertwined such
that the greatest troubles cannot overcome us. We owe our existence to
Haida Gwaii. The living generation accepts the responsibility to ensure that
our heritage is passed on to following generations.