Talk about going green, cedar was used for everything, in the construction of huge posted
long houses, trees that were hollowed out to make giant one piece canoes some as long as
76 feet in length, the iconic totem pole of course but also clothing, hats, nets, storage boxes,
the list goes on all without the use of metal tools and much of it beautifully carved,
and embellished with the art and design of the west coast first nations people.
There are 9 major peoples of the West Coast, the Tlingit, Hadia (Queen Charlotte islands),
Tsimshian, Bella Coola, Kwakiult, Westcoast Nootka (Longbeach Pacific Rim National park),
Makah, Coastal Salish (Victoria Vancouver) and the Quileute (Washington USA).
The fiercest and most powerful of these peoples were the Hadia of the Queen Charlotte Islands,
perhaps because they were not as sheltered as the others being 130 kms or more out into the north
ocean off the west coast of. Excelling in large ocean going canoes, used for
whaling, raiding and travel they were also fine artist's creating their own very distinct art and designs.
At the time of the arrival of the Europeans the native peoples of the west coast had just begun to
work with copper and the making of metal tools. I often wonder to what heights these peoples of the
pacific west coast might have reached in art, architecture and culture if they had been left alone
for another couple of hundreds years or more. I imagine it would have been something to see.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the southernmost Queen Charlotte Islands,
130 kilometres off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Gwaii Haanas protects an archipelago
of 138 islands and features the largest collection of Haida totem poles in their original
locations complete with standing totem poles and the remains of cedar long houses.
The landscapes of Gwaii Haanas vary from deep fjords to rugged mountains, to sub-alpine tundra. The
Queen Charlotte Islands are home to the The site is extremely
remote, and access is only by sea or air from towns in the northern part of the islands.
Gwaii Haanas, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Canada.