Tag Archives: Skidegate

Northwest Coast in New Zealand

Masset, ca. 1924. Source: University of Canterbury, NZ.

I found myself poking around in a New Zealand archive at the University of Canterbury the other day and found some nice historic pictures from the NW Coast.  These are assigned to the collection of John Macmillan Brown, an early New Zealand academic and, in retirement, an amateur anthropologist.  I am guessing these pictures were taken by him in retirement.  Most are undated; one carries a date of 1924.  The subjects are familiar yet the views are new – the more we can catalogue the world’s pictures of the NW Coast, the better we can understand the processes of transformation which continue to unfold.

Update: fixed links, sort of.  Note to web types: you should always provide stable URLs, none of this “your search has expired” junk.  If you want your collections used, and you do, because you put them on the web, you need to make it so the results can be bookmarked and shared.  Gosh.

Skidegate ca. 1924. Are those oarlocks on that canoe? Source: University of Canterbury.

Skidegate Haida Model Village

Model of Skidegate (hlgaagilda 'llnagaay) as installed at Chicago Exhibition, 1893.

Model of Skidegate (hlgaagilda 'llnagaay) as installed at Chicago Exhibition, 1893.

The Burke Museum in Seattle is doing excellent work.  I just found the project which they are spearheading, together with the Haida Museum at Kaay’llnagaay and the Field Museum in Chicago, to reassemble the famous model village of Skidegate (hlgaagilda ‘llnagaay) created for the 1893  Chicago World Fair.  This exhibition was organized by Putnam, implemented by Boas, who hired James Deans (a well known Victoria antiquarian) to collect some NW Coast stuff.  Deans outdid himself by arranging for the carving of a complete model of Skidegate Village  – amounting to some 27 model houses (most with frontal poles), 2 model mortuary houses, and 17 free standing model poles.  (Deans also apparently collected three boxcars of other material including an entire house, canoe and other material, but that’s another story).

The Burke Museum now allows you to view an interactive panorama of the model village.

The website is designed both to showcase these model houses and also to help find the 13 houses and poles which have gone missing.   The intention is to return the model village to Kaay in 2011.  Replacement poles and houses will be commisioned for those that cannot be found.   A highlight are the videos of Skidegate residents such as Captain Gold, Niis Wes, Percy Williams, Kii7iljuus, and Kwiaahwah Jones talking about the model village, about family, and above all about being Haida yesterday, today and tomorrow.

House of Contentment, model carved by George Dickson

House of Contentment, model carved by George Dickson