Museum: Eating and Performing Houses
More pictures today from the Haida Heritage Centre, moving northward from the Welcome House of yesterday’s post. Ga Taa Naay is the Eating House and holds the cafeteria (pictured above). Gina Guuahl Juunaay is the Performing House and holds a performance centre configured like an old style house with a sunken floor – these house depressions are still visible at some of the old villages, like the second image in this post of mine from SGang Gwaay in June. Both of these houses, like the others, has a pole in front. I finally found the information I knew must exist about the poles (in a less than obvious place) and so can include that in this post too (I will edit yesterdays post and insert the relevant information there too).
I don’t have an interior shot of the Ga Taa Naay (it was closed when we visited this time), but in the corridor next to it, I did take a picture of some of the traditional food on display including salmon, beach asparagus (Salicornia), berries, clams and other food, so that will stand as the view of the interior. I have eaten at the cafeteria, and the food is good – unlike some institutions that you want to avoid this place serves decent fare, though sadly no beach asparagus that I could see.
The pole in front of this House represents the village K’uuna Llnagaay also known as Skedans. It was carved by 7idansuu (Jim Hart) which gives another connection for me to archaeology as his son Gwaliga has been working on the archaeology projects in Gwaii Haanas the past couple of years when I have volunteered there. And, his assistant Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas did some of the seminal work on culturally modified trees 30 years ago, work that I followed up a year or two later with some studies along the Yakoun River. So, this house has these faint personal connections for me, which makes it all the more interesting. Below is the information from the Haida Heritage Centre website, which for me does not display properly using either of two different browsers, so I am including it here next to pictures of the pole so you can see the figures and their descriptions in one place:
Location: Ga Taa Naay – Eating House
Carver: 7idansuu (Jim Hart)
Assistants: Wade Collinson, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
The figures from bottom to top:
• Xuuajii or Grizzly Bear
• Two-Finned Killer Whale
• Maat or Mountain Goat
• Xuuya or Raven
• Kung or Moon with Taawla or Rainbow and Kwiiawah
or Cumulus Cloud
• Gina Ga ga kyahts’as or Watchmen
Gina Guuahl Juunaay is to the north of the Eating House and represents the village of Hlkinul Llnagaay or Cumshewa. There were very low light conditions inside it, and uneven light too, so my pictures required quite a bit of processing, a kind of processing I have not mastered yet and it shows. But you will get the idea I think. There are two oval doors to the outside on either side of the pole which must be to allow traditional performances and practices to occur when the space is being used for formal cultural practices. Below is the information from the website and one of the things it demonstrates is the formidable abilities of many of the Haida leaders – this pole is carved by Guujaaw who wears many hats, including being elected as President of the Council of Haida Nation for many years now and thus the political leader of the Haida in their dealings with government and industry. If only more nations had highly accomplished artists as their Presidents, the world would likely be a better place.
Location: Gina Guuahl Juunaay – Performing House
Clan: Gaagyals KiiGawaay of Skedans
Assistant: Reg Davidson
Apprentices: Gwaai Edenshaw, Wayne Edenshaw
and Jason Watts
The figures from bottom to top:
• ChaaGan Xuuajii or Sea Grizzly (with Human)
• Hiilanga or Thunderbird transforming into Human
• St’aw or Owl
• Guud or Eagle with Hlk’yann K’uust’an or Frog
• Gina Ga ga kyahts’as or Watchmen with SGaana
or Killer Whale
This is one of a series of eight posts about the Haida Heritage Centre, the others can be found through this link.
To open larger versions of the images below, click on any one of them, use the arrows to navigate and escape to return to this page.
Canon 5Dii, Nikkor-N (pre-AI) 24mm f2.8 lens (except food shot – Canon 50mm f1.4 lens), ISO640 out of doors, ISO1250 indoors (except food shot ISO100).