Haida culture is alive and well on Haida Gwaii

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credit: Lloyd Alter photo of photo in museum


150 years ago, visitors to what were then called the Queen Charlotte Islands would have seen big communities of Haida people living in longhouses. The poles in front of them were so big that one entered through an arch at the base of the pole. Thirty thousand Haida lived prosperously enough that they had the spare time to develop a rich culture and political organization.

Fifty years later, thanks to smallpox and tuberculosis, there were 675 left.

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