Chiefs of the Sea and Sky
Haida Heritage Sites of the Queen Charlotte IslandsBook - 1989
This book is drawn from Haida Monumental Art, the most important work yet published on Haida culture. Chiefs of the Sea and Sky presents an overview of extensive research carried out by archeologist George MacDonald in the 1960s and 1970s to document the history of the Haida villages of the Queen Charlotte Islands.
In this abridgement, MacDonald recounts the history of eighteen of the major villages, telling the story of their people and describing the sites of their houses and other known structures. In his introduction he explains how the Haida's immense cedar houses and totem poles are part of a fascinating spiritual and material culture which integrates family history, ritual, and mythology. The historical photographs that accompany the text illustrate the richness and variety of Haida sculpture and they show the villages at the height of their glory in the 1880s and 1890s and in their subsequent and tragic decay. MacDonald reports on the further deterioration of several of the sites since publication of Haida Monumental Art in 1983, but he also praises the successful efforts of the Haida and their supporters and the cooperation of the Government of Canada in establishing protection over important heritage sites in the Southern Queen Charlotte Islands. He sees in this and in the accomplishments of contemporary Haida artists an indication that the future of Haida culture looks 'immensely brighter towards the close of the century than it did at the beginning.'
Chiefs of the Sea and Sky will be welcomed by those interested in the history of Canada's Native people and by visitors to the heritage sites of the Queen Charlotte Islands.