Chief Skidegate Speech


This address of the late Hereditary Chief Skidegate, Lewis Collinson (1881-1970) is one of the most famous in the history of the Haida Nation. In March 1966, Chief Skidegate gave this address in Xaadaga Kil, the Haida language. It was translated into English by the late Percy Williams (later known as Hereditary Chief Gidansda).

Raven Calling Productions is pleased to offer this publication, coinciding with the United Nations International Year of Indigenous languages (2019).

This artisanal publication (4 pages long and 5.25 x 7.25 inches in size) is beautifully typeset and designed, with a cover fitting for a Hereditary Chief of the Northwest Coast: red with copper embossing.


Spoken by fluent Xaadaga kil speakers, from the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program, Gaaying.uhlas, Roy Jones Sr and the late Gwaanjuu Jaad, Doreen Mearns (neice of Lewis Collinson).

Photos featured in the publication are of Lewis Collinson sculpting argillite (courtesy of the Haida Gwaii Museum) and a stand of cedar trees in Haida Gwaii (Jack Litrell). Inside the page folds are close-ups of cedar bark (Ruth Hartnup).

The intent of Raven Calling Productions is to ensure that this seminal speech is honoured. Although the address is short (142 words and less than 1 minute in duration in English) it is a powerful expression of the ancient Haida law of “gina waadluxan gud ad kwaagid”—everything depends on everything else, or interconnectedness—in a contemporary context. His application of this law set the course for the journey of reconciliation of the Haida Nation—three decades before “reconciliation” became part of the legal and political discourse in Canada.

Translation and recordings © Skidegate Haida Immersion Program.