Through the Haida Heritage Centre at Ḵay Llnagaay we celebrate the living culture of the Haida. Through our language, art and stories we share our relationship with the land and sea that which shapes, nourishes and sustains us.
Ḵay Llnagaay protects and fosters Haida culture by reaffirming our traditions and beliefs, encouraging artistic expression, and serving as a keeper of all that we are. Ḵay Llnagaay is a place for the Haida voice to be heard. This is our gift to the world.
Ḵay Llnagaay guu Xaaydas Giinaa’ah ‘Laana gud uu Xaaydas giinaa’ah xaaynang.ngas t’alang Gaad ts’adsdll dii. Tl’l ‘waadluxan gud ad Xaaydas giinaa’ah Gii kyang.ga ihl tllgaay ad siigaay Giisda id xaaynang.nga.
Ḵay Llnagaay guu Xaaydas Giinaa’ah ‘Laana Xaaydas giinaa’ah ḵyang.gaay ‘laa ga, ga stlinlas ging haajang. Ḵay Llnagaay guu Xaaydas Giinaa’ah ‘Laana Xaayda kil guudang.nga Gas ga. Aaw gina Tllgaay Ḵ‘aaysguuxan tina t’ang isdas iijii.
Kay Llnagaay – Sea Lion Town
The Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay was a dream of the Haida peoples for decades before opening its doors in 2007 and hosting a grand opening event in August of 2008. The Haida Heritage Centre is located at Kay Llnagaay or “Sea-Lion Town”, an ancient village site. The Centre was designed to resemble the traditional oceanside Haida village that once stood in its place.
The first phase of this massive project was raising six poles over six days in 2001. The pole-raising event attracted visitors from all over the world. The poles represent six of the southernmost villages on Haida Gwaii Skidegate, Ts’aahl, Cumshewa, Skedans, SGang Gwaay and Tanu, and are now standing in front of the Haida Heritage Centre. Master carvers Norman Price, Garner Moody, Guujaw, Jim Hart, Tim Boyko and Giitsxaa carved the poles alongside their apprentices.
This stunning 50,000 sq. ft. Centre houses the Haida Gwaii Museum, Performance House, Carving Shed, Canoe House, Bill Reid Teaching Centre, two multipurpose classrooms, a spacious Welcome House area, and the Ḵay Bistro. Some of the organizations located within the Haida Heritage Centre include Haida Gwaii Higher Education Department, Haida Style Expeditions, Swan Bay Rediscovery and the Haida Gwaii Watchmen program.
“We are a people of strength. We owe this legacy to our ancestors and to the beauty and richness of Haida Gwaii. We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to pass this legacy on… The Kay Llnagaay Heritage Centre is a way for us to preserve and celebrate our past, enabling us to share our history with our children and with visitors.”
–Diane Brown, Chief Councillor, Skidegate 1995
Gyaa K’id Naay
The Carving House is a large, open-walled building designed to house monumental poles, canoes and any other work that would be too large to fit in the enclosed carving shed for our enterprising and talented local artists to work on.
Projects that have been worked on in this space include the Gwaii Haanas Legacy Pole, House Frontal poles, etc. Currently, the Skidegate Pole carved by legendary Haida artist Bill Reid is housed in the Carving House until it is ready to be raised again inside the walls of the Haida Gwaii Museum.
Skaajang Naay / Tluu Naay Canoe House
Gina DaahlGahl Naay
Trading House (Gift Shop)
No visit to the Haida Heritage Centre and Haida Gwaii Museum is complete without a stop at the Haida Gwaii Museum Gift Shop.
With an ever changing display of local Haida artwork, guests will get lost in authentic Haida culture as they peruse the gift shop’s diverse selection of original, authentic Haida artwork. Featuring exquisitely carved silver jewellery, argillite, masks and traditional weaving as well as prints and original paintings.
The Museum Gift Shop has an extensive collection of books on topics ranging from Haida history and culture, to personal stories and encounters.
Not to be missed is the clothing selection showcasing Haida Artists’ artwork and designs. With local handcrafted items from the Islands and a wide range of souvenirs and gifts in every price range, there’s no need to leave empty handed.
Whether it’s to commemorate your visit to Haida Gwaii or to purchase a unique gift for someone else, a visit to the Haida Gwaii Museum gift shop is a must for everyone.
Xaayda Sahlinda Naay
Saving Things House
Haida Gwaii Museum
The Haida Gwaii Museum opened in 1976, and continues to build an international reputation for its outstanding collection of Haida historical objects, contemporary art, archives and natural history collections and partnering with local organization’s and museums from around the world to create a unique place of exploration and dialogue.
The Museum plays an import role in preserving, collecting and presenting the rich and diverse collection of archeological artifacts, natural science, Haida knowledge, and history, visual art, settler artifacts and an archive of rare documents, books and photographs to help establish Haida Gwaii as a unique environment of the Pacific Northwest.
The Museum works closely with the Haida community to repatriate Haida human remains and specific cultural objects held in museums around the world; reconstruct the genealogies of the Haida clan system; and mentor Haida members in arts and heritage-related careers.
Gaa Taa Naay
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We spent 9 days in Haida Gwaii – on our second day we ent to visit the Haida Heritage and spent a great many hours enjoying the well laid out exhibits and found it to be very educational. We ran out of time so went again for the second day and had a tour of the museum by an experienced and knowledgeable young guide. She was very enthusistic about the museum and the culture. Allow as many hours as you can. The restaurant in the museum is also excellent with a good choice of food including vegetarian dishes. A class museum
This is a wonderful centre. The staff are great and the programs are fascinating as are the displays. The poles tour is a MUST! Such a great start to our two weeks on Haida Gwaii, it helped so much with understanding the whole area history and people. We spend most of the day.
We were fortunate enough to visit this wonderful Heritage Center located just a few kilometers from the Skidegate ferry terminal. It is quite big and has several exhibits inside. The souvenir shop is loaded with beautiful handcrafted items mostly for tourists with deep pockets. There’s also a very reasonable bistro/restaurant inside that offers delicious meals. Like most or all museums, you have to pay to look at the exhibits. At the time of our visit, it was a collection of photos of a Haida Model done by a Haida photographer. I love the several Totem Poles erected outside. There’s even a building where real Haida woodcarvers were doing their handicraft for all to see. The view from the Heritage Center outside looking at the nearby island is spectacular! We spent close to 2 hours wondering around and eating our lunch outside. There’s plenty of parking space outside. It’s well-worth the entry fee of $15.00 for seniors. We actually stopped by one more time on our way back from Tow Hill. I highly recommend this must-see attraction! There is plenty of picnic tables outside. The staff is friendly and helpful.
This is a fabulous museum. There is a ton of great information on Haida culture and history and it is very well laid out. The staff are informative and helpful. The building itself is beautifully designed – attractive and well thought out on the inside and incredibly stunning and evocative of the past when you see it on the coastline when driving from Skidegate towards Queen Charlotte.
In order to fully appreciate the history and culture of the wonderful archipelago that is Haida Gwaii, you need to understand what the Haida have survived. The museum and gallery provide an education that allows for a much richer experience when exploring the rest of the islands. The staff are very helpful and answered a lot of questions I had after touring the facility. I look forward to watching this centre evolve.