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Broken trusses of Haida longhouse, Ninstints, Gwaii Haanas National Park, BC

Camera: Nikon COOLPIX S7000     Exposure: 1/30s   f4.8/13mm     Date: 22.08.2017

Broken trusses of Haida longhouse, Ninstints, Gwaii Haanas National Park, BC

According to ancient Haida legend, the Haida Longhouse was one of the main contributions that the Raven made to Haida life after he stole the idea from the Beaver. Haida longhouses were often commissioned by high-ranking, wealthy chiefs and built by thirty to forty men, who had to travel in canoes to cut the large cedar trees for the houses. They also had deep house pits, which required the builders to first dig deep into the earth and create a solid foundation on which to build the longhouse itself. Villages of Haida longhouses were structured based on social rank, with the house of more prestigious house chiefs arrayed on either side of the house of the village chief, which occupied a central location in the house row. During the mid-1800s, Ninstints (Skungwa'ai) might have looked similar to this picture by Gordon Miller.