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Kathleen Jones travelled to the islands of Haida Gwaii, off the northernmost coastline of British Columbia, to talk to a nation who have lived in harmony with their environment for more than ten thousand years.
Their guiding principle ‘Yah’Guudang’, is about “respect and responsibility, about knowing our place in the web of life and how the fate of our culture runs parallel with the fate of the ocean, sky and forest”. The Haida Nation are at the forefront of environmental opposition to the commercial exploitation of the planet and they have a blueprint - the Haida Land Use Vision - for our survival.
But there is a darker side to Haida history. Kathleen Jones uncovers the story of how the British Colonial administration reduced the population from more than twenty thousand to just over five hundred by a policy that has been identified as ‘cultural genocide’. Haida artist Bill Reid, whose sculpture ‘Raven and the First Men’ appears on the cover, wrote that, “It is one of the world’s finest tributes to the strength of the human spirit that most of those who lived, and their children after them, remained sane and adapted”.