Segments in this Video

Haida People (03:07)


Nature shaped the identity of the Haida for 5,000 years. The arrival of settlers significantly affected Haida culture. Bernard Fontanille encounters a white man, Peter who feels accepted by the community; he discusses the revival of local culture.

Traditional Haida Herbalist (02:33)

In the 1700s, the Haida population was approximately 8,000; diseases brought by European settlers decimated the population. Diane Brown, a Haida healer, explains the importance of respecting the plants. She locates a plant to help her nephew with eczema.

Skidegate, Haida Gwaii (02:34)

Brown explains a totem pole outside of her brother's home and how she became involved with medicine. She strips bark off of a branch.

Haida Herbs and Modern Medicine (03:25)

Brown works as a traditional healer in a nearby doctor's surgery. She boils the peeled bark, filters the infusion into a jar, and mixes it with "white medicine" to make a cream for treating eczema. She worries that Haida medicine is vanishing; she learned from various sources.

Haida Ceremony (02:41)

Haida tradition states that supernatural beings in the forest teach about plants and the Haida clan members show them respect with regular ceremonies. Guujaaw welcomes Fontanille to the ceremony and they discuss protecting the land.

Healing Plants (03:31)

Guujaaw and Fontanille travel deep in to the forest; yews were exploited for Taxol in the 1970s. Guujaaw gathers plants, keeping their identity to himself. He states that many Haida health issues are the result of a Western-based diet.

Environmental Protection (03:58)

The consequences of Western society deeply affected the Haida and their environment. Protecting the environment protects Haida tradition and medicine. Fontanille, Guujaaw, and Brown discuss the importance of the Haida language and the fear that recording remedies on paper would harm the land and culture.

Huna Village (03:48)

Fontanille and Brown visit a Skedans village that nature has reclaimed; Brown honors her ancestors' memory. She discusses smallpox and the perception that Haida were less than human. Brown reflects on the next generation of Haida.

Credits: Canada: Haida Gwaii, Island Of The People—World Medicine (00:15)

Credits: Canada: Haida Gwaii, Island Of The People—World Medicine

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Canada: Haida Gwaii, Island Of The People—World Medicine

Part of the Series : World Medicine
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $99.95
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Bernard Fontanille travels to the archipelago of Haida Gwaii, located on the western point of Canada. Formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, the territory acquired its new name in 2010, in reference to the people that have lived there for thousands of years. Despite their distance from the mainland, the Haida have not been spared by history. These “First Nation People” account for 4% of Canadians and face the challenge of reviving vast swathes of memory. This reconstruction of identity also includes medicine.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL120529

ISBN: 978-1-63521-618-9

Copyright date: ©2014

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