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

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: Vince Collison

Repatriation is a long and complex process that involves many people. The Repatriation Committees of Skidegate and Old Massett are authorized to do
this work on behalf of our nation by the Hereditary leaders of Haida Gwaii,
the Council of the Haida Nation, the Skidegate Band Council and the Old
Massett Village Council.

Letter of Authorization

Regular consultation and planning meetings are held with our Hereditary
Leaders, Elders and the rest of the Haida communities, and every part of
the process is guided by the wishes of the Haida community.

The Skidegate Repatriation & Cultural Committee (SRCC) works in partnership
with the Old Massett Repatriation & Cultural Committee (OMRCC) to plan and
co-ordinate when and how to bring our ancestors and cultural materials home.

Fundraising is a major component of repatriation work. To raise money each committee holds raffles and loonie/toonie auctions throughout the year and
markets a clothing line featuring their Repatriation logo.

A few years ago the SRCC began offering “Sumptuous Seafood Dinners” in the Skidegate Community Hall during the summer tourist season. These dinners host
up to sixty people and include locally caught and prepared seafood, an informative presentation and slide show on Haida culture and repatriation, and sharing of
Haida song and dance. Dinner schedules and rates are usually posted by the end
of May on the QC Visitor Centre website under the “Calendar of Events”:

We also seek funding and donations from agencies and organizations both on and
off-island, and individuals.
Special thanks go out to our major supporters: Skidegate Band Council, Old Massett Village Council, Gwaii Trust, Haida Gwaii Museum, Qay’llnagaay Heritage Centre Society and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

Once we have planned, fundraised and co-ordinated with all parties involved
to undertake a repatriation, we travel to wherever our ancestors are held, to
bring them home as we would any deceased relative coming home to their final
resting place. 

A Haida delegation can vary in size from three to twenty-five people, depending
on the amount of work to be done. While at the institution we are repatriating
from, we take the time to view the Haida cultural materials held in their collections, as well as educate the institution on who the Haida are and that we are a strong,
living culture.

Once our ancestors are prepared for their journey home, we finalize the process
with a feast and signing ceremony. When we return home to Haida Gwaii, we wrap our ancestors in the button blankets and cedar bark mats, place them in bentwood boxes and bury them in the Skidegate or Old Massett graveyard with traditional ceremonies. The event concludes with a feast in honour of our ancestors.

The burial and the feast, like many of our planning and fundraising activities,
are open to the general public so that people can participate and learn
about repatriation and Haida way of life.