Haida

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English, Haida

The Haida are an indigenous nation of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. Haida territories lie in both Canada and the United States, as do those of the Tlingit, and Tsimshian. The Haida territories comprise the archipelago of Haida Gwaii (as officially named since 2010, but still commonly referred to by their historic name, the Queen Charlotte Islands) in British Columbia. In the Haida language Haida Gwaii translates to "islands of the people"). Historically, and still today, "Kaigani Haida" families live in Southeastern Alaska, primarily the southern half of Prince of Wales Island in the southernmost Alaska Panhandle.

The term "Haida Nation" refers both to the people as a whole and also to their government on Canadian territory, the Council of the Haida Nation; the government for those in the United States is the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA).[2] Their ancestral language has erroneously been classified as one of the Na-Dene languages, but today is considered to be a language isolate.[3] In addition to those Haida residing on Haida Gwaii, Southern Alaska, and Prince of Wales Island, there are also many Haidas in various urban areas in the western United States.

Haida society continues to be very engaged in the production of a robust and highly stylized art form. While frequently expressed in large wooden carvings (totem poles), Chilkat weaving, or ornate jewellery, it is also moving quickly into the work of populist expression such as Haida manga. Haida art is a leading component of Northwest Coast art.

Contents

History

The Canadian Museum of Civilization offers a detailed look at the Haida, who were known for their seamanship, their martial inclination and their practice of slavery. The Museum indicates that the Haida "created notions of wealth",and credits the Haida with the introduction of the totem pole and the bentwood box.[4]

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