Haida Storylines

Haida Storylines

Uploaded/posted - October 2008
Length - 5:08 minutes

People in video:
Nonni Mary Swanson
Amber Good - "Dragonfly woman"
Jessie Williams
Raven Husman Hayward
Justin Gadard
Ernest Swanson

Narration & Photos

Narration, Editing, and Photos


Special thanks to
Jim Hart
Renae Marks - Old Masset Youth

Haida Song performed by
Fred Louis
Ella Thompson

A production of
ATIRA - Woman’s Resource Society
Digitial Storytelling Program

Islands of the People

Nonni Mary Swanson
"Nang jaadaa yaahl..."

My name is Amber Good.
"My haida name is juju which means ’’Dragonfly woman.’’ My nonni is Mary Swanson. She is one of the few people who can still speak, read and write the Haida Language fluently. She says they are all in their 80’s. "

Nonni Mary Swanson
"When we were born. Our first words were Haida words. "

My name is Jessie Williams.
"And I’m 17. I was born in Masset. I don’t think so much of our Haida culture, even though it’s all around me.

Nonni Mary Swanson
- speaking Haida...

Amber Good
"She teaches our language at Tahayghen  Elementary School. One of two elementary schools in Masset. Masset is on the northern end of Haida Gwaii - the island of the people. The Haida people have lived in Masset for thousands of years. When nonni Mary Swanson was a little girl she attended school in Masset village. The first words she spoke were Haida. But when she went to she, she got strapped whenever she spoke her language. "

Nonni Mary Swanson
"We weren’t allowed to speak our own language. We’d get a strapping for that.

Amber Good
"People here believe the school is haunted. They say children were killed there. 1/3rd of aboriginal children spent most of their childhood in residential schools. Like nonni Mary, they were punished for speaking their languages."

My name is Raven Husman Hayward.
"I’ve only lived on this island for three years. But I can see the Haida culture is strong and proud. And even though I am not Haida, I think we can all fight to keep the culture alive. "

Nonni Mary Swanson
- speaking Haida...

Amber Good
When they came back to their villages as young adults. Often only speaking English. They found it hard to talk to their parents, and grandparents. And they began to loose touch with their traditions, their culture."

My name is Justin Gadard
"I live on Haida Gwaii. I think the Haida language should be saved, although the language made the people. The people make the language. So we should hang onto the things our ancestors made."

Nonni Mary Swanson
- speaking Haida...

Amber Good
Now we are struggling to learn all the things we have lost. But I want to learn and I know that language is not the only thing that is keeping our culture alive. We have art, music, and stories. But we wouldn’t be Haida if we didn’t have our language.

Nonni Mary Swanson
- speaking Haida... I said that’s all there is to know. (laughing . . . , the end)