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// Films // Stolen Spirits of Haida Gwaii

Stolen Spirits of Haida Gwaii

Kevin McMahon / Canada / 2004 / 74 ' / English


Kevin McMahon
Kristina McLaughlin & Michael McMahon

Links & Reviews

Awards & Festivals

Gold Ribbon Award Canadian Association of Broadcasters - Aboriginal Programming, 2006
Best Direction in a Documentary Program Gemini Awards, 2005
Best History Documentary Program Gemini Awards, 2005
Grand Prix Rigoberta Menchu Montreal First People's Festival, 2005

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

In Production

A documentary about the journey of the Haida people to bring home skeletal remains that were stolen from their villages a century ago


After the Haida were forced, by disease, to abandon some 35 of their ancient villages, their islands became a paradise for the relic hunters of the early 20th century, greedy for the totem poles and masks that were – and are – desired by museums all over the world.

Unbeknownst to the Haida, these adventurers also dug up graves and looted mortuary poles, taking away hundreds of skeletons to be used in a bizarre and ultimately futile scientific quest. Not until the early 1990s did the young people of Haida Gwaii learn that the remains of their ancestors – along with more than 100,000 from other tribes -- were in museum basements. When they found this out, they decided to do something about it.

STOLEN SPIRITS OF HAIDA GWAII follows the Haida through a fascinating process of relearning their culture and an incredible journey which takes them to Chicago and, ultimately, to a reconciliation with the descendents of the scientists who robbed the islands’ graves a century ago.


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