Grand Hall tour

Haida House

CMC T2004-003 (detail) The Haida live on the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii) and in the southern part of southeast Alaska. Masset and Skidegate, the principal contemporary communities on the Queen Charlotte Islands, are home to the descendants of people who lived in the many villages all around the coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands.

The Haida house in the Grand Hall is a six-beam house, a style which became popular on the Queen Charlotte Islands in the nineteenth century. Haida houses had pitched roofs and a structure of hand-adzed timbers holding up the roof beams. The walls were constructed of boards set vertically and held at the top and bottom between timbers set parallel to the ground. The six-beam house represents one of two styles which co-existed in Haida villages in the ninenteenth century.

You may enter the house.

The poles and carvings (from left to right) are:

  • Fox Warren Pole (at right). This pole belonged to a house in Masset which was the property of a Raven lineage chief named "Things Roasted on a Fire". The figures on the pole, from the top, are: three Watchmen; a figure in the centre with the tall hat representing Supernatural Snag; Supernatural Snag, shown as a standing figure with round teeth; Supernatural Snag holding a frog; Grizzly Bear with a hunter; and Sea Wolf holding a whale. The pole was purchased in 1882 by an English traveller and taken to his estate, Fox Warren.
  • Kayang Pole. This pole, nearly 13 metres in height, was associated with an Eagle lineage house in the Haida village of Kayang. The house was known as the "House that Wears a Tall Dancing Hat". The figures on this pole are: chief with a tall dancing hat, embracing a small animal and joined to it by its tongue; Whale with human arms grasping its own fins; and Bear with a small raven in its mouth.
  • House Waiting for Property Pole. Although this pole served in the 1880s as the entrance to "House Waiting for Property", a Raven lineage house in Haina, on Maud Island near Skidegate, it originally stood in the village of Chaatl. There is some uncertainty about the name and lineage of the person who owned the house.
  • Chief Wiah's House Post. Wiah was the chief of the Haida village of Masset in the mid-nineteenth century; he belonged to an Eagle lineage. His house, Neiwans (Monster House), was famous for its great size. The interior pole, a Beaver with a sculpin carved on its belly represents two of his principal crests; it stood beside his private apartment.