Earl Marriott Secondary students are on a nine-day cultural adventure at Haida Gwaii, which began on May 1. The students will tour several sacred sites, explore the rich historical significance of the islands while mingling with locals.
The students have offered to write a daily blog post about their adventure, which the Peace Arch News will publish for the duration of their trip.
To read other blog posts from their trip, click here.
‘A Beautiful Understanding’
– by Jessica Cooper
Haida Gwaii is more than an isolated island off the northern coast of British Columbia. Haida Gwaii is a breath of fresh air, a beautiful current that will sweep you off your feet and have you sail away into an ocean of cultural understanding and truth.
On Sunday, we had the opportunity to charter a boat with the Haida Firm, Haida Styles. We motored down along the coast of the southern Moresby Island, stopping in secret coves and visiting ancient village sites.
As the boat drifted down a tidal channel, I took notice of the water, it was clear and pure. A family of deer watched us from the shore. Life surrounded us, thriving in one of the only places left in B.C. that remains untouched from those who wish to strip it of its resources.
As we pulled onto shore and took in the view, I realized that nature is not the only thing thriving in this beautiful place; culture too, surrounded us.
Ancient welcome posts belonging to the K’uuna Raven Clan lay half buried in the ground, overtaken by young cedar trees sprouting from the ancient wood.
Our guide, Alex Gotzinger of the Raven Clan, guided us through the paths, teaching us the names and cultural significance of the posts.
At the end of the path, Gotzinger brought us to a deep hole in the ground at the end of the trail and told the group that this was once a pit house belonging to the Raven Clan Chief.
Gotzinger pointed to the corner of the pit and proudly explained how her great-great-grandfather was born in that spot and grew up to lead the village as chief.
Upon hearing this I saw the land with new eyes and new mind, I looked over to my friends and I could see in their expressions it was the same for them too.
We no longer saw this place as an abandoned site with old wood and deep pits, this place still breathed life, the clan still lived on, and it stood right in front of us in the form of Gotzinger proudly teaching us about her family.
Like the young cedar trees rising from the fallen posts, the first peoples of Haida Gwaii have rose as well.
Culture and tradition is everywhere, bursting forth in the form of story, art, and song.
Haida Gwaii is a celebration of life and love and it has had me swept up in its beautiful current since day one.