Photo: Brianna in Skidegate
Mia Kutny | Grade 11 | Dakota Collegiate
As part of the Oyoyocik Student Leadership Group's trip to Haida Gwaii, we are thrilled to share daily dispatches about their experiences during the trip.
The museum here in Queen Charlotte is amazing beyond compare, the attention to detail is immaculate. It is obvious that the Indigenous perspective is the main priority, a headspace that I am not used to being considered.
The museum itself is a beautiful building on the edge of the ocean, with strategic placements of huge glass windows that enhance the art and atmosphere. Having the privilege of learning about the history and culture of the Haida from a second hand source that properly credits the knowledge keepers is much more impactful than I ever thought possible.
The healthy relationship of the community is clearly evident in everything they do, I have never seen such a positive relationship in a remote area between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. The exhibits at the museum are depictive of their community's values, all being directly from a community member or reclaimed from a different museum.
With the warm embrace of the Haida around me, I found a piece of myself in that museum. Within the art and stories, I saw sovereignty and pride. I was surprised to find so much happiness within myself, instead of jealousy or contempt. I do not have the same access to my people's history and language that they do, but to see how hard they have fought to preserve their culture gives me new hope to learn mine. I cannot thank the Haida for the sense of community that they have welcomed us into in these few days, I am honoured to have experienced this. Howa. Miigwetch.
Tameika | Grade 12 | College Beliveau
Today was such an amazing day, I was so mesmerized by how beautiful the people, the community and just Haida Gwaii in general. The people in Skidegate are such kind, loving human beings and they welcomed us so kindly and passionately.
We got the lucky chance to go the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program (SHIP)and learn some of their beautiful language such as, "Dang a dii k'uuga ga" which means I love you in haida and also "damxan hla agan ḵing" which means look after yourself.
Now I'm not going to say that the language isn't tricky because it is, but it's a language that I feel is so pure and I would love to learn more about it. They are also such great teachers/elders here that are such great people. We also got to play the Haida version of bingo with the elders which were pretty interesting, and different, but it was amazing.
I absolutely adore all of the community because they show that we as Indigenous people can grow and become one and become a family. I felt so much love as soon as we got here, I felt so much peace and the Haida people are such gifted, intelligent, lovely people and this will forever be an experience I'll never forget.