This Week in History

Archives

The Signing of the Gwaii Haanas Agreement

This story was initially published in 2002

The January 30, 1993 signing of the historic Gwaii Haanas Agreement by the Council of the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada was a unique political milestone. The Agreement to share management of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site has become a model for other shared protected areas in North America, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.

An ancient rain forest in Gwaii Haanas

An ancient rain forest in Gwaii Haanas
© Graham Osborne

One of the most important areas in the Agreement is the creation of the Archipelago Management Board, which consists of an equal number of representatives from the Council of the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada. The Archipelago Management Board closely supervises the planning, management and operation of Gwaii Haanas. All decisions are made by consensus.

The Agreement acknowledges that the Council of the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada have differing views on the ownership of the area, but that both have come together for the common good of Gwaii Haanas to maintain and leave it unimpaired for the benefit, education and enjoyment of future generations. The area is a benchmark for science and human understanding. The Haida have articulated that the protection of Gwaii Haanas is essential to sustaining Haida culture and that its natural and cultural elements are inseparably intertwined. The Haida Nation recognizes the value of Gwaii Haanas to the world. The Agreement will continue to guide the management of the area until such time as the dispute over ownership is resolved.

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site consists of more than 200 islands of coastal British Columbia wilderness, offering a blend of natural and cultural features found nowhere else on earth. Temperate rainforests and upland bogs, salmon-rich streams and grassy estuaries, coastal fringe and submarine kelp forests represent a rich diversity of life that sustains the living culture of the Haida. A profound sense of self-discovery takes hold as you slow down to appreciate the natural and spiritual values of the place. A visit to Gwaii Haanas is a chance to celebrate more than 10 000 years of Haida life here.

The seas around Gwaii Hannas teem with life

The seas around Gwaii Hannas teem with life
© Gwaii Haanas

Nan Sdins (SGang Gwaay 'Ilnagaay) was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1981 and in that same year UNESCO granted the island World Heritage Site status. Other Haida villages that have received national historical significance status are K'uuna 'Ilnagaay (Skedans) and T'anuu 'Ilnagaay (Tanu).

For more information, please visit the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site Web site.

Date Modified: