Haida Carver

Richard Gilbert (1964)

On Canada’s Pacific coast this film finds a young Haida artist, Robert Davidson, shaping miniature totems from argillite, a jet-like stone. The film follows the artist to the island where he finds the stone, and then shows how he carves it in the manner of his grandfather, who taught him the craft.

Haida are an Indigenous group who have traditionally occupied Haida Gwaii, an archipelago just off the coast of British Columbia, Canada for at least 12,500 years. The Haida are known for their craftsmanship, trading skills, and seamanship. They are thought to have been warlike and to practice slavery. Anthropologist Diamond Jenness has compared the Haida to Vikings while Haida have replied saying that Vikings are like Haida.

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