Way of Life
Long ago the Haida sometimes went to war against other Native groups for revenge or to get items of wealth and, especially, slaves. The Haida's slaves were either people caught in wars or were the children of those who had been caught. The Haida were successful warriors because they had excellent seamanship skills. Haida forts were very well defended against attack. Haida also defended themselves by wearing armour, including wooden helmets and breastplates, and a war coat made from thick sea lion hides or several layers of elkskin. They used bows and arrows and spears, as well as war daggers.
The Haida's main food sources were the salmon and eulachon fish. The eulachon was highly prized because, besides being good to eat, its oil could be used for lighting lamps. In order to get eulachon, the Haida had to travel to the Nass River and trade with the Nisga'a people. There were also many animals the Haida could hunt. The largest was the grizzly bear. The grizzly bear is also honoured by the Haida of Haida Gwaii.