Haida

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Haida

(hī`də), Native North Americans living primarily on the Queen Charlotte Islands, off British Columbia, and on the southern end of the Prince of Wales Island, off Alaska. They speak the Haida language, which forms a branch of the family of Nadene languages (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
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). In physical and cultural characteristics they are closely related to the Tlingit and the Tsimshian; the three tribes belong to the Northwest Coast cultural area (see under Natives, North AmericanNatives, North American,
peoples who occupied North America before the arrival of the Europeans in the 15th cent. They have long been known as Indians because of the belief prevalent at the time of Columbus that the Americas were the outer reaches of the Indies (i.e.
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). Before the advent (early 19th cent.) of white fur traders, the Haida lived in large cedar-plank houses, fished for salmon, and hunted sea mammals; they were noted for their large and well-made dugout canoes. Their society was divided into the Raven and Eagle clans; marriage was always with someone of the opposite clan, and clan membership derived matrilineally. Their customs featured the conspicuous display of wealth (see potlatchpotlatch
, ceremonial feast of the natives of the NW coast of North America, entailing the public distribution of property. The host and his relatives lavishly distributed gifts to invited guests, who were expected to accept any gifts offered with the understanding that at a
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). They then numbered some 8,000, but by 1880 disease, particularly smallpox and venereal infections, had reduced their population to some 2,000. Today most Haida are employed in fishing, canning, and logging; many have left their island homes for mainland life. The artwork of the Haida is widely acclaimed. In 1990 there were close to 2,000 Haida living in the United States and another 2,000 in Canada.

Bibliography

See C. Harrison, Ancient Warriors of the North Pacific (1925); P. Miller, Lost Heritage of Alaska (1967).

References in periodicals archive ?
Before white contact, the Haida people had already raised carving to a high art form.
With only a handful of elders to draw upon, Haida people dispersed across many communities, and a younger generation schooled in Western institutions, we have long needed assistance with developing methods and creating materials that take into account who and where we are today.
Ultimately, the entire Haida people were forced to become a lower class.
The most important of these is the cedar which, since time immemorial, has played a central role in the economy and culture of the Haida people. It is from cedar that they made their oceangoing canoes, their clothing, their utensils and the totem poles that guarded their lodges.
Today, approximately 2000 Haida people still practice traditional customs and live off of the fish they catch daily.
Long before a modern nation-state enveloped them, the Haida people fished, foraged, farmed, and thrived on this fecund, 138-island archipelago lying just to the south of Alaska, off the coast of British Columbia.
Representing the story of the Haida people are 17 figures.
Prefaced with a short history of the Haida people and their near annihilation through epidemics, Sheehan continues by showing the steps of a sculpture, from the quarrying of the stone through the finished piece, often six months or more later.
I love the Queen Charlotte Islands because I've gotten to know the Haida people very well, and they've adopted me.
And we take note that the Haida people have won another court victory.
Originally carved for the family of Massett Haida people in what was known until very recently as the Queen Charlotte Islands, now officially Haida Gwaii, off the coast of B.C., the totem was shipped to Jasper in 1919.
The Haida people traditionally used canoes in everyday life and the canoes used at Gwaii Ecotours are built by master Haida carver Christian White front nearby Masset.