Haida use approximately 150 plant species on Haida Gwaii, as well as numerous maritime plants, especially seaweeds. These uses can be divided into three basic categories: plants as food, as medicine, and as a source of fibre or material for making a wide array of manufactured objects.
Haida use approximately 150 plant species on Haida Gwaii, as well as numerous maritime plants, especially seaweeds. These uses can be divided into three basic categories: plants as food, as medicine, and as a source of fibre or material for making a wide array of manufactured objects.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

A favorite Haida plant food today is red laver seaweed (porphyra abbottae), or sgyuu, in the Skidegate Haida dialect. The seaweed is harvested at low tide in May. It can be eaten fresh, but is usually sun-dried. It is eaten in seafood soups or on its own, as a snack.
A favorite Haida plant food today is red laver seaweed (porphyra abbottae), or sgyuu, in the Skidegate Haida dialect. The seaweed is harvested at low tide in May. It can be eaten fresh, but is usually sun-dried. It is eaten in seafood soups or on its own, as a snack.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Seaweed

Dried red laver seaweed.

Photo: Haida Gwaii Museum

© Haida Gwaii Museum


Berries of many different varieties are collected between May and October. Salmon berries, strawberries, red and blue huckleberries, salaal berries, cloud berries and cranberries are picked and either frozen for future use or prepared as jam.
Berries of many different varieties are collected between May and October. Salmon berries, strawberries, red and blue huckleberries, salaal berries, cloud berries and cranberries are picked and either frozen for future use or prepared as jam.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Berry

Cloudberry, Rubus chamemorus.

Photo: Haida Gwaii Museum

© Haida Gwaii Museum


garden

Wild garden at Marble Island; west coast of Haida Gwaii.

Photo: Haida Gwaii Museum

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


In the spring months, young salmonberry shoots, ts’iixal, are picked, peeled and eaten raw. Many other vegetable plants were eaten by our ancestors, including the roots of Springbank clover, naa 7aa, and the roots of Pacific Silverweed, ts’ii7aal. These were prepared like potatoes. Although these are not used extensively today, the knowledge of how to use more than 65 food plants is still with us and will benefit us in the future.
In the spring months, young salmonberry shoots, ts’iixal, are picked, peeled and eaten raw. Many other vegetable plants were eaten by our ancestors, including the roots of Springbank clover, naa 7aa, and the roots of Pacific Silverweed, ts’ii7aal. These were prepared like potatoes. Although these are not used extensively today, the knowledge of how to use more than 65 food plants is still with us and will benefit us in the future.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

landscape

River delta and tidal marshes; Haida Gwaii.

Photo: Haida Gwaii Museum

© Haida Gwaii Museum


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe the importance of plants to the diet of Haida people, using examples
  • Describe how several wild plants and plant parts are harvested, stored, and utilized as food by Haidas

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