SGang Gwaay, Gwaii Haanas National Park and Haida Heritage Site

Sep 12, 2017 - National Geographic Sea Lion

Today, we woke up with a spectacular sunrise in a very beautiful and culturally and historically important place, the ancient village of SGang Gwaay, in Gwaii Haanas National Park and Haida Heritage Site. We spent the day exploring the natural history of the area and learning about the cultural history of this very spiritually significant site for the Haida people.

The archipelago of SGang Gwaay (Anthony Island) wowed us with many many beautiful large and small basaltic islands hinting to us the long journey of these rocks created from volcanic activity near the Equator millions of years ago and transported here on the Pacific tectonic plate. Tufted puffins, black oystercatchers, and belted kingfishers flew around us and presented fun challenges to the photographers to practice their skills. We noticed red cedars and red alders were more numerous now in the forests as we have moved further south into their realm.

But the most memorable part of the day was our visit to the ancient Haida village and the tour by the Gwaii Haanas watchmen, who educate visitors like us about Haida history and the present cultural revitalization. The ancient totem poles, mortuary and memorial poles, more than 150 years old, and the site of an ancient long-house all made for a surreal and somber moment, as we felt very lucky to visit this special spiritual place for the Haida people. 

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About the Author

Lida Teneva


Dr. Lida Teneva grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria, in Eastern Europe, and wanted to be an explorer from an early age. Today, she is a coral reef scientist, marine conservationist, and educator, with 13 years of experience accumulated in Barbados, Dominican Republic, Australia (Great Barrier Reef), French Polynesia, Palau, the Northern Line Islands (Palmyra Atoll), Hawaii, and Fiji. She has worked on ancient and modern coral reefs, reconstructing past climate change and predicting future changes to reefs. 

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