Back from whence it came


Graham Richard —

A new film premiered on Haida Gwaii about a new name’s return and an old name’s reestablishment. Director Gwaliga Hart’s new film ‘Giving Back the Name with Respect’ premiered at the Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay and Tluu Xaadaa Naay April 8 and 9. The 23-minute film describes the ceremony that took place between the Haida Nation and the Province of BC in Gaaw on June 17, 2010.

The film contains footage of then-Premier Gordon Campbell officially accepting a bentwood box containing the name ‘Queen Charlotte Islands’ in a ceremony called ‘Aajii kyee gan saa guudang aas.uu sahlgaan dang ga t’alang isdaang’ in Gaaw Xaad Kil and ‘Yahguudang dangad kiigaay dang gwii t’alang sdiihlda’ in HlGaagilda Xaayda Kil.

Gwaliga worked with a team that included underwater videographer and film producer Pauline Heaton and photographer Jack Litrell. The team conducted extensive interviews with numerous elders whose stories explain the significance of the historic day.

“This was made for our people, it is our story,” Gwaliga explained. “It is a tribute piece to the leadership that has brought us up until now and will bring us forward

from here. We made it to reflect where we come from and celebrate the milestones we have achieved.”

After its return the name ‘Queen Charlotte Islands’ remained in the bentwood box at the British Columbia Parliament Buildings in Mak’toli Victoria. During their visit in October 2016 the Duke of Cambridge Prince William Arthur Phillip Louis of House Windsor took the box containing the name of his great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Queen-consort of the United Kingdom Sophia Charlotte von Macklenburg-Strelitz back to Kensington Palace, the fancy castle from whence it came.

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