Home
Our Process
The Journey
Our Learning
Cultural Treasures
Respecting Our Ancestors
End of Mourning Ceremony
Documentaries
Contact and Contributions

BUTTERFLY DESIGN
The idea of the butterfly was brought to our attention by the
Late Margaret Hewer. The butterfly represents the messenger
of the departed souls. It is also said to be a symbol of the traveling
Spirits, those departed and misplaced that are wandering about.
The design was created by the Late Brad Collinson and adopted
by our committee as our logo.

Photo: Gordon Mills
AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
In September 2002, a delegation of twenty-eight Haida traveled
to New York, with relatives and friends, to repatriate the remains
of forty-eight ancestors from the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). These ancestors originated from the villages of Skidegate, Nan Sdins, Skedans, Cumshewa, Kayung and Tian, and other ancestors whose final resting places were not documented when taken. They were taken from their graves on Haida Gwaii between 1897 and 1901, primarily by Charles F. Newcombe, an early anthropologist.

The AMNH also has over 800 treasures attributed to the Haida,
and when we were there, we viewed as many pieces as we could. There are some really beautiful pieces on exhibit, ranging from small to monumental, but there are also countless other treasures in storage. As part of our repatriation ceremonies, we shared singing and dancing with museum staff, school children and the general public. At this performance, the museum staff was not
able to get clearance for us to use any of our ancient treasures
in our dances, but they were able to transport them to the performing space, and we were happy just to have some of
them with us while we danced.

In 2004, the AMNH opened the exhibition Totems to Turquoise, which was curated in part by Haida artist and Hereditary Leader, Jim Hart and is currently showing in Vancouver at the Vancouver Museum until March 25, 2007. Some of our dancers performed at the opening, and we were thrilled to be able to use some of the treasures in our dances this time around.

GALLERY

LINKS
AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

DFAIT
American Museum of Natrual History repatriation, 2002

NEW YORK TIMES
American Museum of Natural History repatriation, 2002

INDIAN BURIAL AND SACRED GROUNDS WATCH
American Museum of Natural History, 2002

TOTEMS TO TURQUOISE
Vancouver Museum