Love exploring new heritage sites? Haida Gwaii is home to some of the richest Indigenous history in the province, and that includes the long-uninhabited 19th-century Haida village of SG̱ang Gwaay (formerly known as “Ninstints”). Comprised of a larger island and 27 small islets, the village is home to upright and fallen totem poles, house pits, and the ruins of longhouses – all of which are being allowed to decay naturally, as per Haida tradition. So if you’re keen on visiting for yourself, time is of the essence!
Situated within the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site, the small village has truly stood the test of time, offering visitors a direct look into the past.
Occupied until shortly after 1880, the village is located on Anthony Island in the southwest corner of Gwaii Haanas.
According to Haida Tourism, SG̱ang Gwaayboasts the largest collection of Haida totem poles in the world, all of which are in their original locations. These works of art have earned the village (and Anthony Island) the official title of a UNESCO Heritage Site, as they commemorate “the living culture of the Haida and their relationship with the land and sea.”
View this post on Instagram
As the local First Nations consider SG̱ang Gwaay far more than just a village site, visitors are asked to stay on the paths as they roam the heritage site, where the remains of so many Haida ancestors and their spirits rest.
Note that the village is extremely remote, and access is only by water or aircraft from the northern part of the island. Tourist numbers are restricted to prevent damage caused by excessive foot traffic, and as such, it’s best to explore the area through one of the many guided experiences and stays offered by Haida Tourism.
So there you have it, BC. If you’re looking for a fully immersive experience of Indigenous culture and history, consider booking a guided visit.
Where: Haida Gwaii, BC