Skidegate, a village on the Queen Charlotte Islands, was named by early traders after the town chief, who was called Lgai-a' by the Haida. It faces a long sandy beach on the north shore of the entrance to Skidegate Inlet. The Chief's house and veranda are visible on the right.
The town was first visited by fur traders in 1787 and for three decades was an important centre of sea otter trade. A short period of whaling and a brief gold rush in 1850 increased the village's wealth and led to a flurry of building and totem pole raising. In 1853 five hundred villagers canoed to Victoria on the first of twenty-five annual trading expeditions. These families returned with European diseases; only the survivors of other towns abandoned in the 1860s kept Skidegate alive.
Skidegate was a large village with over thirty houses. By 1883 the last totem poles had been raised and European-style structures began to replace the traditional Haida houses.