With whales breaching from the water, eagles and ravens soaring overhead and magnificent cedar trees rising from the ground, the beauty of Haida Gwaii defies description. Explore Haida Gwaii through a series of videos here!

With whales breaching from the water, eagles and ravens soaring overhead and magnificent cedar trees rising from the ground, the beauty of Haida Gwaii defies description. The Haida Nation has lived on these islands since time immemorial. On Leg 13, we were honoured to meet renowned activist Guujaaw, Haida Gwaii Watchman Vince Collison and carver Gwaliga Hart. They told us the story of the Haida Nation and we would like to share it with you.

In the Haida culture, the cedar tree is known as the ‘tree of life’. Traditionally, when babies were born, they were placed in cedar boxes. When people died, their bodies were also placed in cedar boxes. The bark of the trees has many other uses as well. It can be woven into ropes, baskets and hats. These trees are also used for one of the well-known symbols of Haida culture – totem poles. Haida totem poles tell a story through the representation of human, animal and supernatural figures. We spoke with Haida carver Tyler York to learn more about this incredible tradition.

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