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All That We Say Is Ours: Guujaaw and the Reawakening of the Haida Nation [Hardcover]

Ian Gill
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 3 2009

Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, is Canada's Galapagos, a West Coast archipelago famous for its wild beauty. It is also the ancient homeland of the Haida nation. In the 1970s, after decades of rapacious logging, the Haida joined forces with environmentalists in a high-profile struggle to save the islands. The battle found powerful expression through Giindajin Haawasti Guujaaw, the visionary artist, drummer and orator who would later become president of the Council of the Haida Nation.

The victories over logging interests are just one highlight in the Haida's epic, decades-long struggle to take back control of their own destiny. In 2004, they filed suit against British Columbia and Canada, laying claim to their entire traditional territory. Combining first-person accounts with vivid prose, Ian Gill captures the excitement of their struggle, from high-octane logging blockades to defiant legal challenges. Guujaaw's audacity, eloquence, tactical skills and deep knowledge of his homeland put him at the heart of the struggle, and this book reveals the extraordinary role he played in this incredible story.

In chronicling the Haida's political and cultural renaissance, Gill has crafted a gripping, multilayered narrative that will have far-reaching reverberations.

Frequently Bought Together

All That We Say Is Ours: Guujaaw and the Reawakening of the Haida Nation + Haida Gwaii: Human History and Environment from the Time of Loon to the Time of the Iron People
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"Guujaaw and the Haida Gwai have ispired indigenous leadership worldwide. A compelling story"

(CHOICE, Current Reviews For Academic Libraries 2011-01-01)

"Ian Gill captures this key Canadian story, along with the wit, wisdom, resilience and shifting fortunes of the Haida, with candour and compassion." (John Vaillant, author of "The Tiger" 2009-10-01)

"In telling the story of a modern indigenous hero and his people, Ian Gill has captured a moment in the global resurgence of indigenous people. This book artfully bridges in the vast gulf of misunderstanding that still pervades our society." (Shawn Atleo 2009-10-01)

"Ian Gill gives voice to the struggles of the Haida people and their fight for self-determination, while at the same time raising troubling questions about Canada's political will and values." (Globe & Mail 2009-10-06)

"[All That We Say is Ours] recounts the journey of a man and his people to correct the total failure of British justice to fulfill its obligations." (Joseph Gosnell 2009-10-01)

"This is a praise song to a people and a place. It is about the spirit of Haida Gwaii, about respecting Haida stewardship, and about recognizing the responsibilities we all have to the world we live in." (J. Edward Chamberlain 2009-10-01)

This book raises very difficult questions about our country's political integrity and our civilization's flawed relationship with the earth itself. (Ronald Wright 2009-10-01)

"Ian Gill knows the Haida and their Queen Charlottes, out in the Pacific below the Alaskan Panhandle...the Vancouver ex-newspaperman makes a noble stab at telling the modern-day tale of the Haida and one of their more controversial activist figures in All That We Say is Ours: Guujaaw and the Reawakening of the Haida Nation." (Toronto Star 2009-09-11)

"This book makes compelling reading for any Canadian wishing to better understand First Nations and why they are willing to fight so hard for land that without which, as Guujaaw puts it, they would no longer exist." (Canadian Geographic 2009-10-01)

"Whether it was Gill's intention or not, All That We Say is Ours helpfully undermines the simplistic and familiar version of these events, set within the thematic conventions of colonialism and resistance, with First Nations taking a stand against the dominant Euro-Canadian culture, and indigenous patriots rising up against the oppressive Canadian settler-state. Gill goes along with all that, but he also reveals a more important story of collaboration and cooperation among and between the Haida and their non-native allies. Indeed, it is a story in which the Haida came late to play the leading role, on their own islands." (Georgia Straight 2009-10-15)

"All That We Say is Ours offers rare insights behind colourful cultural curtains hung at potlatches to display a chief's traditional land and resource ownership." (Ottawa Citizen 2009-11-28)

"As Ian Gill's eloquent and deeply researched new book All That We Say is Ours makes clear, dignified Haida resistance has been a regular feature of the contact between the original inhabitants and outsiders." (Vancouver Review 2010-06-02)

About the Author

Ian Gill is president of Eco-trust Canada. He worked as a writer and broadcaster for CBC Television, where he won numerous awards for his documentary reporting. He is the author of the bestselling Hiking on the Edge and Haida Gwaii: Journeys through the Queen Charlotte Islands. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift Sept. 10 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift for a friend. It was recommended to me by another friend so I haven't read it yet.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling story, not a scholarly history Sept. 12 2010
By Rolf Kleef - Published on
While spending a few weeks on Haida Gwaii, exploring Gwaii Haanas and Graham Island, reading this book added a lot of perspective on the recent political developments around Haida heritage and politics (up to mid 2008). It provided a detailed back story that wasn't told in visitor information booklets or conversations with people.

Ian Gill clearly is impressed by Guujaaw, and centers developments around him, but also writes in his acknowledgements that Guujaaw expressed dissatisfaction with the book (although he does not go into detail on why).

For someone unfamiliar with Canadian politics and media, it is sometimes a guess how events might have been perceived by the wider public in Canada (or North America). Gill provides a few links to other international events, but, for instance, it remains a mystery how SGang Gwaay ended up as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981, the year the Haida also registered the boundaries of Haida Gwaii with the United Nations. And, as Gill is president of Ecotrust Canada, the often strong environmental angle might be more Gill's interpretation than the Haida's view.

The book is not (and, according to Gill, not intended as) a biography of Guujaaw nor a scholarly history. Instead, Gill's version of the reawakening of the Haida Nation is a compelling and inspiring story about identity and community leadership in a world that is slowly coming to terms with aboriginal rights and principles of environmental sustainability.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It was different then I expected, but......" All That We Say Is Ours"....was worth the reading Aug. 13 2012
By Kathryn L. Guillaum - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I live very close to a Haida community and I learned some things that I didn't know before, but I was not shown any animosity when I visited Hydaburg ( Prince of Wales Island ). The few people that we met were friendly, courteous and imformative. We went to see some totems being restored for a raising. If the Haida resent or dislike us ( white people ), they hid it very well.
I think it depends on with any culture, respect is appropriate. I did enjoy the ebook and still have it in my Kindle.

My profile says Ketchikan, but I now reside in Hollis , Alaska ( P.O.W )
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Howaa for this book! Nov. 24 2011
By Kay - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
My daughter-in-law sent me this book to read. It's about the people of Haida Gwaii and their determination to preserve what's theirs. Haida Gwaii is sometimes referred to as Canada's Galapagos, famous for its wild beauty. It is also the ancient home of the Haida peoples. For years they have fought for what they rightfully own.
I started the book and finished it the next day. It was so interesting, I couldn't put it down.
It was also very informative and enlightening. I gained a lot of insight into Haida culture and what they are all fighting for.
I love nature & trees and the Haida saying "Yahguudang--respect for all living things" really resonated with me. I believe we should respect the land and everything on it that we are given.
When I read the quote made by Guujaaw (president of the council of the Haida Nation and advocate) that "every tree removed erases traces of the existence of our people" it made me sad and angry that so many trees have already been cut down and logged over the past years.
I hope that all the trees that the Haida people cherish will never be cut down again and will stand tall and proud as a testament to the Haida people.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haida Gwaii Yah'guudang provides a compelling vision for us all Nov. 16 2009
By Steven Forth - Published on
The story of Haida artist and political leader Guujaaw and the transformation that is occurring in the Haida Gwaii (or Queen Charlotte Islands as they are still known on some maps) is an important one and the more people that know of it the better. Guujaaw is one of a number of Haida who blend a deep knowledge of the land and surrounding sea with compelling art (Google Guujaaw images and go down to the 3rd and 4th pages for an idea of this) and political leadership and are leading a transformation of how the Haida see themselves and how others see them.
The story of how Guujaaw grew from being Giindajin (the Argumentative One) to Guujaaw (the Drummer) is fascinating, and the role that the physical work of rowing around the islands, working with wood and respect for the elders played is telling.
As you read this book, or even before, you may want to read the Haida Land Use Vision (HLUV) which is easily found on the web. Guujaaw is one of the authors of this document. It is worth careful study and rereading. It gives a sense of the approach to land use that we are all going to need to adopt if we are going to develop sustainable societies.
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