Travel

S'G̱ang Gwaay Llanagaay: A UNESCO World Heritage Site In Canada

A village site of the Haida people, the S'G̱ang Gwaay Llanagaay or the Ninstints is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in British Columbia.

What Is The S’Gang Gwaay Llanagaay?

The S’Gang Gwaay Llanagaay, sometimes referred to as Ninstints or Red Cod Island, is a village that is located off the northern coast of British Columbia on the Haida Gwaii archipelago (previously known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) of Canada. This village was once occupied by the Haida people, an indigenous culture of the Pacific Northwest coast. Its remote location that can only be reached by air or sea from nearby towns in the northern region of the islands. It is part of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site and is distinguished both as a National Historic Site of Canada and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This village site is one of the best preserved villages found on the archipelago and is home to a number of cedar long house ruins, carved memorial poles, and evidence of the relationship of the Haida people with the land and the ocean. This article takes a closer look at the S’Gang Gwaay Llanagaay site.

Why Is The S’Gang Gwaay Llanagaay A World Heritage Site?

This village offers researchers a unique look at the life of the Haida people, including their art, storytelling traditions, and culture. Much of the Haida art can be found displayed on large, carved totem poles, most of which are still located in their original positions. These totem poles are considered some of the best examples in the world. There is no other site that offers such a thorough look at the Haida culture, art, and memorial practices as the S’Gang Gwaay Llanagaay village.

Because this site is completely contained within the boundaries of the island, it provides a well-defined model of the importance of this village. Its remote location ensures that human activity and development have left the ruins largely untouched. Some decay has occurred, however, as a result of the temperate rainforest climate in which the ruins are located. Other threats to this site include: the impact of the local deer population and damage caused during unsupervised visits when tourists walk on or touch the ruins.

The last inhabitants of this village were gone by 1885 after the majority of the Haida population was killed by smallpox and other diseases to which they had no immunity. Despite not inhabiting the property for over a century, the S’Gang Gwaay Llanagaay village still plays an important cultural role in the spiritual lives of the remaining Haida people.

Management Of The S’Gang Gwaay Llanagaay Village

The S’Gang Gwaay Llanagaay village is protected under several regulations and national distinctions. These include a National Historic Site and the Canada National Parks Act of 2000 and the Constitution of the Haida Nation of 2003. Because this site is within a National Park Reserve and distinguished as a Haida Historic Site, it is managed by the Government of Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation. Any planning or management issues concerning the site are discussed and decided upon by the Archipelago Management Board, which is comprised of representatives from the Haida Council and the Canadian Government. The group of Haida Hereditary Leaders are given moral power over the site and provide feedback concerning any proposed management plans.

More in Travel