UBC Undergraduate Research

Reclaiming Haida Gwaii : the Haida’s road to co-management MacKay, Calum


This paper aims to explain how the Haida came to be stewards of Haida Gwaii after a century of oppression. When the British began to colonize Haida Gwaii, they removed the Haida people from all decision-making processes on their land base. They over-harvested the archipelago from the early 1900’s until the early 2000’s with very little oversight by any regulatory institution. This practice decimated the landscape that was once full of biodiversity, all while preventing the Haida people from practicing traditional activities on their land. The conflict became more intense in the 1980’s when environmentalists began supporting the Haida in reclaiming their land, and peaked when blockades were formed that prevented the large forest companies from accessing timber. This conflict led to the Canadian Supreme Court deciding that the government had not accommodated First Nations interests to the extent they deserved, and stated that the Haida must be involved in all decisions made on their land. The decision led to a co-management council that now oversees forestry activity on the island and is made up of both Haida and government leaders.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada