Dormant inland lifeways of Graham Island, xaadlaa gwayee

Karen Church, University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC)

For 22 years I was a resident of the Charlottes / xaadlaa gwaayee (Haida Gwaii, British Columbia). My two children were born and raised there, and I was trained in forest archaeology by xaadaas/local people, and registered professionals.

Dormant inland lifeways of Graham Island, xaadlaa gwayeeFor ten years I was the head archaeologist and heritage program manager for the Haida Tribal Society, and during the archaeological and cultural land values studies that we conducted under contact to logging companies and the Province, I learned from the land and my local colleagues.

Together, we traversed hundreds of kilometers and identified thousands of culturally modified trees (CMT), which are protected artifacts within this rain forest. Understanding this landscape as I did, as industrial logging continued to destroy archaeological/cultural trail evidence, and the rain forest in general, I worked to find protection for heritage trails and the specific inland xaadaa culture they represent, which had gone dormant. None of the governments would officially recognize and protect the trails, in part because the trails are no longer visible, even though the CMTs were signposts along them.

In this talk I will demonstrate where one such trail is located. I shall describe the landscape archaeological approach I used to do indicate where the trail is, which employed a GIS to contain, map and analyse the results, and Google Earth to provide three dimensional views.