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The Highliners

The Fishing Tradition of the Haida First Nations

Home | Highliners | Perils of The Perfect Storm | History of the Haida First Nation | The Fishing Tradition of the Haida First Nations | The Queen Charlotte Islands | Message in a Bottle | A Treasure Chest of Links

A group of Haida fishing boats circa 1930

                             The Haida fishermen of yesterday and today

The northern habitat of the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii) forged a natural alliance between the Haida people and their surroundings. The rocky and difficult terrain made farming an often unrewarding venture. Vast forests of cedar, hemlock and jack pine was available for housing, canoe building and artistic activities. Wildlife was present on the islands for hunting and trapping but the most overwhelming resource surrounding them on all sides was the sea. It was from the sea that the Haida made the bulk of their livelihood. Thousands of years of experience honed their ability to craft superb boats. These boats were not only used for fishing but also served as the only means of transportation from island to island. When the Europeans arrived on the islands in the 1900's, they recognized the superb craftmanship of these boats and copied their design.

Traditional Haida fishing tools

An early method of sea fishing

                  The "Haida Fleet"

Throughout the late 1800's and early 1900's, the Haida developed a distinctive white sided longboat for fishing offshore. So many of these boats were developed that they were known as the "Haida Fleet". Elements of the design of those boats are copied even today when new boats are built. They are a testament to a worthy design and the craftmanship of their makers. Please explore the links provided for an enjoyable look at the history of the Haida and the sea.

More information

Link to "The Ring" website

Haida longliner in dry dock