Haida Material Culture in UK Museums Project

Haida group photo


In September 2009, twenty one delegates from the Haida First Nation travelled to the United Kingdom to work with museum collections and form an International Research Network with the Pitt Rivers Museum and British Museum. Delegates handled nearly 800 Haida treasures, and also gave carving and weaving demonstrations, public talks, and public dance performances. The Network sought to understand the importance of historic collections for Indigenous communities, to improve their access to collections, and to learn together about the collections. Most importantly, its goal was to build long-term relationships between Haida people and museums in the UK holding Haida treasures.

‘Everything was Carved’ 50 minute documentary about the Haida Project

‘Everything Was Carved’ features commentary from Haida delegates and Pitt Rivers Museum staff, as well as footage from the handling sessions. It was produced as a teaching tool, with students and source community researchers in mind: it helps convey the breadth of preparations, outcomes, meanings, and perspectives inherent in projects of this kind. It can be streamed or downloaded for educational use.

Suitable for: Museum Studies; Indigenous Studies; Anthropology; Material Culture Studies; Education
Directed by Udi Butler. Produced by Laura Peers and Cara Krmpotich. Running length 50 mins.



This is Our Life: Haida Material Heritage and Changing Museum Practice

The project resulted in a book, This is Our Life: Haida Material Heritage and Changing Museum Practice (UBC Press, 2013), by Cara Krmpotich and Laura Peers, available here

“Featuring contributions from Haida people -- weavers, carvers, language speakers, youth, and Elders -- and museum staff -- curators, conservators, and collections management staff -- who participated in the project, and a rich selection of illustrations, This Is Our Life details the remarkable story of the Haida Project, from the planning to the visit itself and through the years that followed.”


This research network was supported by the Leverhulme Trust (International Networks Grant), John Fell Fund (University of Oxford), Gwaii Trust, and Canada Council for the Art.