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PEOPLE OF THE CEDAR

Thunder Bird Park Victoria

The Pacific North West Coast, Land of Forest, Fern, Moss and Sea

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, colored 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 pacific ocean off the west coast of British Columbia. 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.

GWAII HAANAS NATIONAL PARK RESERVE

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 First nations Hiada people. 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.

THE INSIDE PASSAGE - QUEEN CHARLOTTES

Inside Passage-Mid Coast-Bella Coola and Queen Charlotte Islands. Cruise the beautiful coastal inside passage with BC Ferries from Port Hardy on the North end of Vancouver Island though the HAKAI Recreation Area past Kitimat Fiords then to Prince Rupert with a final crossing to Skidegate on the Queen Charlotte Islands home to the First nations Hiada people and the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site.


World's tallest totem poleWorld's tallest totem pole 127 feet 7 inchs

The world's tallest totem pole, at 127 feet 7 inches in height. Vancouver Island, Canada

 

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