Kuuyang-Lisa White, who operates the Gin Kuyaas gift shop in Old Massett, wonders why her people have to import wood to build homes in Haida Gwaii. Photo by Serena Renner.
Aug. 13, 2021, the governments of British Columbia, Canada and the Haida Nation announced a new framework agreement that recognizes the nation’s inherent title and rights across the archipelago of Haida Gwaii, which translates to “islands of the people” or “islands coming out of concealment.”
On this territory, the Haida have endured a giant tsunami, an outbreak of smallpox that nearly wiped out their population and the onslaught of commercial hunting, logging and fishing that have shipped billions of dollars worth of resources off the islands. Even the remains of Haida ancestors have been literally robbed from their graves.
"GayGahlda represents an important opportunity to begin the process of Tll Yahda (“making things right”) between the Crown governments and the Haida Nation,” said Gaagwiis Jason Alsop, president of the Council of the Haida Nation, in last Friday’s announcement. “By shifting away from the denial politics of the past and moving to a place of truth through acknowledgment of inherent Haida title, a strong foundation for negotiations is established.”