Tansy Visits the Haida Village of T’aanuu
Tansy and her favourite photographer, travelling aboard the schooner Passing Cloud visited T’aanuu Llanagaay twice this summer!
The watchmen at this site were Mary, Walter and 3 year old Tanu Xoya. They greeted the visitors at the beach!
The watchmen pointed out a rock structure which is underwater at a higher tide… a pool is formed with rock walls between bedrock outcrops and rock piles were built in the middle. These habitats were created to encourage octopus to move in, so they could be easily located and caught for food. Some people call them Octopus Gardens!
Here is a canoe skid, where the stones have been moved aside, so the big canoes could be brought safely to shore.
Mary and Tanu Xoya led the way into the forest.
T’aanuu is one of three old Haida village sites Tansy visited that still has visible architectural features. Here is an old house where a spruce tree has grown into the top of a corner post. One section of root has grown straight down and nearly encased the upright post, part of which has fallen on top of the moss. Another root of the same tree has traveled diagonally along the fallen beam until it reached the earth.
T’aanuu has more house remains than K’uuna (Skedans) or SGaang Gwaay. In this picture you can see the diagonal fallen beam from the previous picture in the distance. Tansy is looking at the remains of a different house that has a fallen corner post with it’s rear beam still visible passing through a notch in the post. Collapsed roof beams run from front to back of the house.
This house still has a standing rear corner post with the main house beams visible in the background.
When you look at this picture closely, you can see the carving near the left end of the pole cradled on the roots of young spruce trees. It is almost like being in another dimension when you see old houses and poles turning back into trees.
Tansy marveled at the number of houses this village had – more than 40 houses have been recorded here.
Moss and forest…
…forest and moss. The village is quiet now, but imagine hundreds of people, laughing, arguing, playing, cooking, working; what a busy place it used to be!
This might be a Sea Wolf called a Wasco by the Haida, or perhaps a Bear, but the watchmen aren’t sure if it was a free-standing sculpture, or was at the top of a pole.
Tansy talked to it for a while, and it grumbled back to her gently, but did not reveal the secret of its carving.
Tansy thought this structure to be perfect for Hittys, though there were none at home when she visited. It perhaps cover a well or has some other recent recent use at the site.
Mary showed the visitors photographs taken in the 1800’s when the village was occupied.
The watchmen’s flag lets people know that the villages are protected still.
Tanu Xoya is learning how to be a watchman, and stamps visitor’s passports!
Tansy doesn’t have a Haida passport, so Tanu Xoya stamped a piece of paper for her!
The visitors headed back to the Passing Cloud…
Mary and Tanu Xoya stayed behind to protect the site…
Yummy nut treats awaited on the boat for the visitors to eat while they digested their Haida village experiences.