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When Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site was established, a commitment was made by Parks Canada to participate in the planning and construction of a Haida Heritage Centre on Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands).

In 1994, Parks Canada began actively participating in the planning of the multi-agency Qay'llnagaay Heritage Centre project to be built on the Skidegate reserve lands. The Centre is to be built and managed by the Skidegate Band Council through its economic development arm, the Gwaalagaa Naay Corporation.

The total cost of the Qay'llnagaay Heritage Centre project is expected to be $19.2 million.

Parks Canada will contribute a total of $6.0 million towards the Heritage Centre to help provide the Skidegate Band with the necessary up-front capital required to build the facilities. Funding of $4.5 million will be provided to the project in exchange for long-term office, classroom, lab, exhibit and interpretive space. An additional $1.5 million will go towards the development of mutually supportive exhibits throughout the Centre.

Other major contributors to the project now include: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, $3.0 million; Department of Canadian Heritage, $1.5 million; Gwaii Trust Fund, $2.0 million; Haida Gwaii Museum Society, $ .750 million, and; the Skidegate Band Council, approximately $4.25 million. Fundraising efforts are continuing.

The Qay’llnagaay Heritage Centre will be located at a picturesque and historic location on the boundaries of Skidegate. Six Haida poles were carved and erected at the site in 2001, representing each of the six villages of Skidegate.

Once it is completed, the centre will help the Haida to preserve and continue their culture and the teachings of their elders. It will also offer heritage programs that are expected to attract visitors from around the world.

Both the Skidegate Band Council and Parks Canada view this project as an opportunity to significantly enhance the very successful and unique cooperative relationship between the Haida Nation and Parks Canada in managing the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. This year also marks the 10 year anniversary of the signing of the Gwaii Haanas Agreement, which established the parameters under which Parks Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation manage the park cooperatively through the Archipelago Management Board.

The Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site is located in the southern Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii), approximately 130 km off the British Columbia mainland. It includes some 138 islands in an area that stretches approximately 90 km, from north to south.

News Release associated with this Backgrounder.