Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, have you ever heard about it? Well, it might sound more familiar with the name the “Queen Charlotte Islands”. So, here is everything you need to know about Gwaii Haanas, Canada. We also provide basic information about Gwaii Haanas tours if you’re in need.
All About Gwaii Haanas
Gwaii Haanas sits in Haida Gwaii’s southern islands. It’s about 100 kilometers from the British Columbia northern coast.
Gwaii Haanas means “beautiful islands”. And it has approximately a third of the southern islands. It shields not the forests alone but also the cultural Haida locations.
The park is one of the hardest-to-reach to all in North America. There are no signs, roads, or permanent setups that show the way to the park. The sole way in is by seaplane, kayak, or boat.
Gwaii Haanas is also home to SGang Gwaay. This was once a Haida village. Unfortunately, 19th-century smallpox entirely destroyed it. UNESCO recognized SGang Gwaay as a World Heritage Site. It’s because this place has the most aged and authentic standing totem poles worldwide.
Facts About Haida Gwaii
Haida Gwaii Is Not The Original Name
In fact, the original name of the island was the Queen Charlotte Islands. However, in 2010, it changed into Haida Gwaii. The new name means
The 2010 Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act change the name of the “islands of the Haida” in the Haida language.
Haida People Nearly Disappear – Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve
There were about 20,000 Haida on the island before the European’s first contact. Tuberculosis and smallpox then lessened their numbers to only 600 survivors by 1900. And today, around 3,000 Haida are still living on the island.
Did You Know That The Famous Ingenious Artist Bill Reid Is Haida?
At first, the Haida people were discouraged from practicing their own language and culture. Later on, in the 20th century, specifically, witnessed the Haida art revival. And the most notable artist was Bill Reid. His artwork “The Spirit of Haida Gwaii” is on the back of the Canadian $20 bill.
Haida Language Is Unique And Has No Association With Any Other Language – Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve
For ages, linguists have tried to categorize it into a specific language family. However, they had to conclude that it has no association with anything. It is an isolated language like Basque.
Gwaii Haanas Tours
As we mentioned before, the park reserve is not reachable by road. So, most visitors have to take guided tours when venturing into this park. All visit trips to Gwaii Haanas demand travel permits. This applies to even a one-day excursion.
Common tours are offered by nearby Moresby and Graham Islands communities. They have a detailed plan for your adventure. You can choose what means of transportation you want to reach the destination.
The trip highlights are a walking tour of SGang Gwaay, and talks with Haida Watchmen about Haida culture, history, and tradition. Of course, lots of chances to see both land and marine wildlife.
They have floating lodges and guesthouses for night rest. There will surely be tasty home-cooked meals as well.
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