Portrait of Giindajin Haawasti Guujaaw

Oil on Canvas, 24 x 36, 1984
Giindajin Haawasti Guujaaw
Chief, Leader, Artist, Carver, Carpenter,
Political Activist, Medicinal Practitioner, Historian

  • From Massett, on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands).
  • Assisted with Bill Reid’s carving of Raven and the First Men at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology.
  • Guujaaw means drum, a name formally given to him at a potlatch at Kiusta.

“All that we say is ours is of Haida Gwaii. This is our lot, our heritage, our life…and one of the world’s greatest cultures.” ~Guujaaw

Giindajin Haawasti Guujaaw served as the President of the Council of the Haida Nation for 13 years, but the position did not dull his activism. Born in Masset on Haida Gwaii, Guujaaw acts as an advocate for the Haida Nation and their home, the Haida Gwaii (also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). As a member of the Gakyaals Kiiqawaay Skedans Ravens of the Haida Nations, he learned traditional ways of life from his great-grandmother – the Haida are matrilineal – and the Masset elders. Making his living through artwork, carpentry, and hunting and gathering, Guujaaw strives to preserve the traditions of his home. Guujaaw’s actions as a protestor and activist helped change several British Columbia government policies regarding land use on Haida Gwaii, and establish the boundaries of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage site. He is an active public speaker for the preservation of lands, traditions and rights for Native peoples.

For further information see:

  • Gill, Ian. (2009).  All that we say is ours: Guujaaw and the reawakening of the Haida
  • Nation.  Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre.  Koerner Library: E 99 H2 G65 2010.
  • Guujaaw. (1984). The cedar.  Illustrated by Arlene Golson.  Vancouver: Wedge
  • Publishing. Xwi7xwa Library: ETE .W47 C4 1984.