Wherever we go, we’re joined by crew member and cultural lead Gaajiiaawa (Linda Tollas) of the Skedans Raven clan, who generously shares insights about her culture, Haida history and one of her favourite topics, the cedar tree.
Whenever other locals see Gaajiiaawa, it’s clear she’s a beloved and respected member of the Haida Gwaii community. No surprise, given the value of her work, she was recently nominated for the RCGS Louie Kamookak medal.
It was an honour for my husband and I to present her, post-dinner one evening and as RCGS ambassadors, with the medal which was sent to us from Ottawa before our initial departure.
I may be back in Calgary now, but I’m feasting on recent memories of ancient forests filled with birdsong and blankets of glowing, emerald-green moss, the air so fresh and breathable you can’t put words to it.
And I’m recalling the playful seals we encountered during kayak adventures along the way, with one pup – unforgettably – latching onto and then swinging from our expedition leader’s paddle before gleefully diving back into the sea with a giant salty splash.