Travel DestinationsHeritage SitesSGang Gwaay- A Beautiful Abandoned Village Of Ninstints

SGang Gwaay- A Beautiful Abandoned Village Of Ninstints


When a village or a settlement is abandoned, there are two main reasons behind it. One, due to natural calamities, or second, is moving on to another progressing civilization. Either way, the abandoned place has some fascinating story to impart. And it becomes mandatory to look into preserving such places to preserve the stories before they become extinct. Hence It is when the place is listed to UNSECO World Heritage to get government as well as local aid to protect. Today we will be looking into one such place that needs proper attention. SGang Gwaay is a tiny site located on the very beautiful island of Queen Charlotte.

About the SGang Gwaay

Sgang Gwaay
Sgang Gwaay: Image Credit/

SGang Gwaay means Remains of houses. This place is very much known for illustrating the lives, culture and traditions of the local people who lived there. It also elaborates the art and way of life of the Haida People. And thus allowing the people to get deep into their lives.

The SGang Gwaay is situated in the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve in Queen Charlotte City. This is the only heritage site representing the Haida community. Apart from the beautiful memorials and poles of art, there is a Camp within the vicinity. This camp ensures the best if kayaking experience for the tourist visiting the SGang Gwaay.

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History of SGang Gwaay

Sgang Gwaay Site
Sgang Gwaay Site: Image Credit/

It is said that the village of SGang Gwaay was occupied and thrived from the start of 1880. And then they marked the extravagant life of the Haida people till the 19th century. However, by the end of the 19th century, the entire village was abandoned for some other reasons. And then there were ruins standing alone to narrate the beauty of art and culture once the people nurtured. The poles and the standing monuments feature some of the best artistry of the local people. And tourists come across the globe to catch a glimpse of this beautiful art.

Is SGang Gwaay as authentic as oral Stories claim?

haida gwaii site
Haida Gwaii site: Image Credit/

The authenticity and the integrity of the place are not just oral stories but filled with evidence. SGang Gwaay holds an undisputed authenticity geographically, from the very moment of its discovery. Then the art and materials implicit the presence of the Haida community without any doubt. The entire property stands for its originality and evidence that is strong as a rock!

The SGang Gwaay is a standing example of progressing the Haida community and their way of living. The place is also known for its spiritual living. It has become mandatory to protect the poles and other artifacts from the climate. Apart from the climate tourist also walk and explore closer to the artifacts that may damage the structure unknowingly.

Protecting the unique heritage

The SGang Gwaay heritage is indeed one of the rare and unique heritages. Not only it illustrates the art and culture of the place but also helps to understand an entire civilization. It was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site to protect the place and with immediate effect. The place had a place National Heritage Site and it was completely managed by the Government of Canada. Also, the site was protected under the Constitution of Haida Nation.

Haida Management
Haida Management: Image Credit/

The part of the site commences with the forest area and thus the land had to be categorized and protected under Canada National Parks Act. The entire site has one or the other value to be protected under a different law. Such as the AMB (Archipelago Management Board), under which most of the planning, management and research was executed. The locals and the Haida leaders of that part are also dwelt with the responsibility and often consulted them for any reasons.

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Looking with respect to the climate and changing circumstances special attention has been imparted. They not only have to deal with climate change but also with the progressing and developments of the city. The heritage site had to be protected without affecting the progress of the city.

SGang Gwaay as a tourist place

Haida Tourism
Haida Tourism: Image Credit/

People come in from different parts of the country to see these beautifully carved mortuaries. And to understand the deeper aspects of the culture and tradition of the place. One can enter the site from the main city, Queen Charlotte. There are buses and taxis available from the heart of the city. Yet if you live to have hustle-free travel then the best thing is to hire a cab for sure. This will allow the tourist to explore other parts of the city as well.

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SGang Gwaay is one of the best UNSECO heritages Sites when it comes to protecting a lost world. Maybe not in a literal meaning, but the place was abundant and lost for a long period of time. And while exploring SGang Gwaay one ends up getting acquitted to the part of other culture and tradition without ever living there. That is the miracle of visiting World Heritage Sites. Hope you agree and till then…
Bon Voyage!

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