I was happy to read an article recently about the Haida people repatriating articles from museums in Canada and around the world. In many cases the articles were stolen, in the 19th and 20th centuries, in the name of collecting evidence of dying indigenous peoples.
Of course, the Haida survived and are among the most successful Indigenous Peoples in Canada to assert their sovereignty and rights. Their homeland is now known as Haida Gwaii instead of the Queen Charlotte Islands, the name I learned growing up in British Columbia, on Canada’s west coast.
In 2002 I wrote this article from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, about growing Haida efforts to repatriate the remains of their ancestors housed in museums worldwide. I was encouraged to read in the latest article that only one ancestor remains to be repatriated.
I have been to Haida Gwaii, including the museum at Kay Llnagaay: it is a stunning place.
Kudos to all the people who have worked on Haida repatriation all these years.
I’ve written previously about the Haida:
- About a potential pipeline project: Haida elders educate Enbridge hearing
- And about theories that the smallpox epidemic that decimated the Haida was genocide.