At least fifty years before Europeans first made contact with the Haida, some Haida families had reacted to growing pressures on the population of the villages around North Island by beginning to move to the islands of what is now the Prince of Wales archipelago in southeast Alaska. Another reason for the move may have been to position themselves closer to the Russian trading posts at Wrangell and Sitka that supplied important materials as well as new objects of wealth.
According to traders' accounts of the late eighteenth century, the families of Dadens village on Haida Gwaii were actively relocating to southeast Alaska to the extent that it was virtually abandoned as a permanent village by the early nineteenth century. Slowly, the Haida replaced the Tlingit-speaking people who had occupied the area for thousands of years; however, the original Tlingit place names survive, at least in part, in many Kaigani Haida village names. Eventually, the Haida towns and camps included Kaigani itself, a camp that waned as initial immigrants moved on to other settlements, including the larger more permanent villages of Klinkwan, Sukkwan, Howkan and Kasaan.