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(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.


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

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References in periodicals archive ?
There will be upgrades to the boardwalk at SGang Gwaay Llnagaay, which will allow the Haida Gwaii Watchmen and visitors to safely access the site while protecting these culturally and ecologically sensitive areas.
"SGang Gwaay holds long memories for the Haida Nation, and the village still tells stories today, said Kil tlaats 'gaa.
The analysis that follows is offered in that spirit: not as a definitive description of the contents of the Haida legal mind, but as an outsider's perspective on the Haida legal system.
Especially noticeable in this photograph, however, is the Haida frontal pole visible at the rear of the hall, somewhat obscured by strange, protruding skulls of other specimens.
His mother was Sophie Gladstone, a Haida from Skidegate, one of the two still populated Haida villages, and his father was William Ronald Reid, a native of Michigan, of German and Scottish immigrant stock.
Most other northwest coast stories only tell about how Raven got black; this Haida version tells why.
In this section I will employ the model on nonimmigrant subjects, the Haida of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands, northwest coast of British Columbia) and the New Mexico Tewa.
"Originally there were four Haida guys that owned the place, so we decided to call ourselves HaidaBucks.
Perhaps an example from my own family is useful: my mother, Julie Coburn, who just turned eighty-three this summer--and is one of the few remaining speakers--shares with me that she always understood Haida when she was growing up but did not speak it fluently until she made a concentrated effort to relearn it as she approached her fortieth birthday.
Aboriginal rights lawyer Louise Mandell, who is representing the Haida, describes the claim as "groundbreaking." She believes it is the first time a First Nation has claimed surrounding waters and offshore rights.
The difficulty lies in the unfamiliarity of the narrative content and its cultural context, both obvious to the storytellers and audience of classical nineteenth-century Haida oral literature but alien to most of us.