Haida Gwaii: Human History and Environment from the Time of Loon to the Time of the Iron People (Pacific Rim Archeaology)

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9780774809221: Haida Gwaii: Human History and Environment from the Time of Loon to the Time of the Iron People (Pacific Rim Archeaology)

Over the last ten years there has been intensive field research in archaeology and paleo-geography in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), primarily by agencies such as Parks Canada, but also by consultantas and other independent researchers. Members of the Haida Nation have participated directly in this field work. Haida Gwaii presents the results of this research and carefully integrates the results with earlier archaeological, ethnohistorical, and paleo-environmental work in the region. The book presents as complete a picture as possible of past environments and culture on Haida Gwaii from the late glacial through the prehistoric and protohistoric periods preceding the period of direct European contact.

While this is a scientific text, Haida tradition is covered to a limited extent through the inclusion of a previously unpublished Haida origin myth. The collection makes a significant contribution to understanding the natural history of Haida Gwaii, from new data on ice retreat, shoreline and sea level change, faunal communities, and culture history, to broader inferences made from these data regarding the late glacial and early post-glacial history of the entire coast.

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About the Author:

Daryl Fedje is an archaeologist with Parks Canada in Victoria, British Columbia. Rolf Mathewes is professor of biological sciences at Simon Fraser University.

Review:

The most isolated archipelago on the west coast of the Americas, inhabited for at least 10,500 years, Haida Gwaii has fascinated scientists, social scientists, historians, and inquisitive travellers for decades. This book brings together the results of extensive and varied field research by both federal agencies and independent researchers, and carefully integrates them with earlier archaeological, ethnohistorical, and paleoenvironmental work in the region. It imparts significant new information about the natural history of Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, and the adjacent areas of Hecate Strait. Chapters analyze new data on ice retreat, shoreline and sea level change, faunal communities, and culture history, providing a more comprehensive picture of the history of the islands from the late glacial through the prehistoric period, to the time of European contact, known to the Haida as the “time of the Iron People.”

Much of the archaeological work was conducted with the direct participation of members of the Haida Nation. As a complement to the scientific approach of the research, two chapters provide a Haida perspective, explaining the value of traditional oral records and recounting several oral histories, including that of Taadl, the loon, which takes us back to the beginning of time.

This volume is a veritable compendium of knowledge, out of which emerges the human and environmental history of Haida Gwaii and its dynamic landscape. Haida Gwaii will be of interest to scholars and students in archaeology and anthropology, and those with an interest in the environmental and cultural history of Haida Gwaii.

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