We started our exploration on Moresby Island. To obtain an overview of the changes, we joined Moresby Explorers on a four-day trip. With four other couples, we travelled in a Zodiac to the National Park Reserve, Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. We stayed two nights at the Moresby Explorers float camp in Crescent Inlet and one night at Rose Harbour. En route, we stopped at several Haida sites: Cumshewa, Skedans, Tanu, Windy Bay and Ninstints (SGang Gwaay). At each site, the Watchman described the settlement history. En route, we enjoyed a diversity of sitings of marine life: birds, whales as well as bear, racoon and deer.
After the Moresby adventure, we returned to Queen Charlotte to reconnect with Graham Island. On the drive north, we stopped at the Sitka Studio and bookstore in Tlell; we hiked up Tow Hill, and lunched in Masset. Overall, it seemed timeless; although there was a new co-op store in Skidegate.
To catch up with changes in the culture and thinking, I did pick up two new books. At the Sitka Studio, I found ‘Potlatch as Pedagogy: Learning through Ceremony’ by Sara and Robert Davidson. Later in the day, at a gift shop in Old Massett, I found ‘Shaping the Future on Haida Gwaii: Life beyond Settler Colonialism’. by Joseph Weiss.
Just from reading the first chapter, with its description of current life in Old Massett, I can imagine varied reactions. Later at the library in Queen Charlotte, I saw a notice of a community presentation by the author to be held this week in Old Massett.
On our last day on Haida Gwaii, we visited the Haida Museum in Skidegate. By now, I had filled my bag with stories (books). However, I happened to notice a book by Maria Tippett ‘Made in British Columbia: Eight ways of Making Culture’. It includes eight essays, one is on George Woodcock (1912-1995), entitled ‘Defining the Canon, the self-made man of letters’. Woodcock immigrated to Canada from England in 1949. In 1966, he received the Governor General’s Literary Award for ‘The Crystal Spirit: a study of George Orwell’. Woodcock knew Orwell in England, before the Second World War.
‘As he wrote in retrospect, Canadian Literature flourished because of the growing number of new critics, and the growing volume of new books, quantitatively and eventually rich’. p.102.
Tippett in her book on eight BC culture producers, besides George Woodcock, includes essays on Emily Carr, Bill Reid and Arthur Erickson.
Ollie at Moresby Explorers was a knowledgeable guide with excellent boating skills. Heather shared the travels down Haida Gwaii memory lane. Edward Wedler added his graphics contribution.
Sara Davidson and Robert Davidson. 2018. Potlatch as Pedagogy: Learning through Ceremony. Portage and Main Press.
Joseph Weiss. 2018. Shaping the Future: Life beyond settler colonialism.UBC Press.
Maria Tippett.2015. Made in British Columbia: Eight Ways of Making Culture. Harbour Publishing.