UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO PRESS
Haida Gwaii, the ancient territory of the Haida people, is a West Coast archipelago famous for its wild beauty and rich species diversity. But that natural bounty, since European contact, has also been a magnet for industry. In the mid-1970s, the Haida rallied with environmentalists to end the rapacious logging of their monumental old-growth forests—and to reassert their title and rights to their homeland.
Combining first-person accounts with his own vivid prose, Ian Gill traces the struggle from its early days. The battle became epic, stretching from the backwoods of British Columbia to the front benches of Canada’s parliament and uniting a colourful cast of characters. There were many setbacks, but also amazing victories, including the creation of Gwaii Haanas, a world-renowned protected area, and landmark legal decisions. Perhaps the fiercest champion of the Haida’s visionary new stewardship ethic has been Guujaaw—artist, orator, strategist and four-term president of the Council of the Haida Nation.
In 2004, the Haida laid claim to their entire traditional territory: the land, seabed and waters of Haida Gwaii. It was an audacious move, and one that set a benchmark for indigenous rights around the world. In telling this incredible story of political and cultural renaissance, Ian Gill has crafted a gripping, multilayered narrative with far-reaching reverberations.
Prize(s): Short-listed Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Book Prize (2011)
"Guujaaw and the Haida Gwai have ispired indigenous leadership worldwide. A compelling story"
–CHOICE MAGAZINE, Current Reviews For Academic Libraries
“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
“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, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations
“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.”
–The Globe & Mail
“This book recounts the journey of a man and his people to correct the total failure of British justice to fulfill its obligations.”
–Dr. Joseph Gosnell, chief negotiator for the Nisga’a Treaty
“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, author of If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories?
“This book raises very difficult questions about our country’s political integrity and our civilization’s flawed relationship with the earth itself.”
–Ronald Wright, author of Stolen Continents
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
–The Georgia Straight
“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.”
“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.”
“The struggle of the Haida deserves to be heard. The heroes are so many, Eagle and Raven. The story is told here from the perspective of two men:
one an author, a relative newcomer to Canada who has given to the country more than most, and the other a visionary Haida leader, who by force of will, commitment and integrity has transformed the dialogue between Canada and First Nations. This book will inspire the world.”
–Wade Davis, author of Light at the Edge of the World