This You Tube video has glimpses of the Haida Heritage Centre and scenery from around Haida Gwaii – Queen Charlotte Islands.
According to a version of Haida legend the trickster Raven is responsible for stealing the sun from his grandfather and separating it so that one piece became the moon and the others became stars. With two stone pebbles he created Hiada Gwaii. Raven then put them in the sea and grew the trees upon them, made the water flow through the rivers and stole the fish from Beaver to stock the lakes and streams. One day when Raven was flying over a beach he heard a strange noise coming from below. Perplexed he went to investigate and found creatures devoid of fur and feather hiding in a clam shell, he released them called them human and gave them the gift of fire.
Since the time when Raven gave us life the Haida people have inhabited Haida Gwaii for 9,000 years. During this time, and up to the time they made contact with Europeans, they were known as a proud warring nation and had ventured as far south as California.
The first European's to make contact was Jaun Parez in1774 and captain James Cook in 1778. Europeans and Americans attention was focused on Haida Gwaii in 1851 when there was gold to be had. The gold rush was made difficult by the Haida trying to protecting their land. Sir James Douglas was appointed governor over the area and named it the Queen Charlotte Islands. In 2009 the name was changed to Haida Gwaii to reflect the original name used by the indigenous peoples that live there.
Contact with Europeans came at a great cost. Small pox epidemics ravaged the Haida people killing 95 percent of the population. At one point there were only 350 Haida people left. Over time the Haida's numbers have increased and with the help of Bill Reid and others the Haida people have regained their culture and heritage.
In common times the main economic forces in Haida Gwaii were forestry and fishing. To a lesser extent they still are, but the declining need for these commodities and an environmental movements to scale back harvesting is pushing Haida Gwaii into a new direction. Tourism is fast becoming the new and growing economy on the islands with world class sports fishing, a rich culture and a one of a kind location. The secret is now out, Haida Gwaii – Queen Charlotte Islands is a unique, mysterious and eclectic destination that is drawing more and more visitors from all over the world.