What's the Origin of the Haida Tribe?


Quick Answer

The Haida are aboriginal individuals who have traditionally occupied the inlets and coastal bays of Haida Gwaii in British Columbia. Almost 2,500 of the Haidas live in the Haida Gwaii region, with approximately 2,000 more residing elsewhere in Columbia and all over the world.

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Full Answer

Each village of the Haida was a self-governing political unit with each family in the unit being a separate entity. However, all the Haida belonged to one of two social groups named the Rave and the Eagle, sometimes referred to as clans or moieties. The Haida tribe always married members of the other group.

The clan membership of the Haida tribe was always matrilineal, with each group containing at least 20 lineages. They declared clan association through an ornamented display of family crests painted or carved on war canoes, masks and decorative objects.

The Haida language is segregate with two dialects: Masset, found on the northern island as well as southeast of Alaska, and Skidegate, found in the south. These two languages are nearly extinct; as of 2015, there are only nine eloquent speakers between both languages and 13 more speaking the language to some extent. The Skidegate Band Council and the Ancient Masset Village Council support language programs, which have more than 50 language students between them.

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