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Photographs of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Call Number: WA Photos Folio 178

Description of Photographs

Photographs of Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia, created during the summer of 2012, that document the Haida and Kwakwak'awakw (also known as Kwakiutl) people and cultures.

Images of Haida include portraits of Haida artisans Christian White and Vernon White as well as dancers from the Tluu Xaada Naay Society (Canoe Peoples House) including Roberta Kennedy (Haida name Kung Jaadee), Cynthia Anne Samuels (Haida name Gulee), Tiffany Amber Vanderhoop, and Bryce Williams (member of the Coast Salish). Includes images from the coronation of Allen Davidson (Haida name Skil Hiilans) from the St'langng Laanaas clan as one of the potlatched hereditary leaders of Haida, which was also attended by fellow Haida leader Roy Collison (Haida name Gya awhlans) of the Kuun Laanaas clan. Other images include the burning of a headdress by Georgia Liddle Bennett (Haida name K'inggay 'liwaans).

Images related to the Kwakwak'awakw include views at Alert Bay on Cormorant Island of totem poles, the "big house," and the derelict St. Michael’s Indian Residential School. A group of images document a potlatch at the big house in Alert Bay led by Beau Dick (Kwakwak'awakw name Walas Gwa’yam) that includes an initiation ceremony for the Hamatsa society, dances, and the burning of traditional masks with identified attendees including Corey Bullpit, Bill Cranmer, Gwaliga Hart, and Christian White.

The collection also includes a view of the mural, Sunset Whale Tail, by Jeff King at Prince Rupert.

Signed, numbered, and dated by the photographer on versos of prints.

Edition number 1 of 15.


  • 2012


Language of Materials

Inscriptions in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Owen Luck, Photographs of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Owen Luck on the Walter McClintock Memorial Fund, 2013.


Arranged by the photographer.


5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Photographs of Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia, created during the summer of 2012, and printed as 77 inkjet prints that document the Haida and Kwakwak'awakw (also known as Kwakiutl) people and cultures.

Owen Luck (born 1947)

Owen Luck is an American photographer known for his photography of Native American and First Nation Canadian life and history. In 1973, after serving two tours as a combat medic in Vietnam, Luck travelled to Pine Ridge, South Dakota to provide medical support during the occupation of Wounded Knee by the American Indian Movement (AIM). He also carried a camera and created an extensive record of the confrontation between AIM and the United States Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, and other law enforcement agencies. His account of that experience, "A Witness at Wounded Knee 1973," was published in The Princeton University Library Chronicle in 2006. In 1975 Luck documented the Menominee Warrior Society’s occupation of the abandoned Alexian Brothers Novitiate in Gresham, Wisconsin, near the Menominee Indian Reservation. Since 2004 he has worked among indigenous communities of the Pacific Northwest. Luck has donated photographs to Ogallala Lakota College in Pine Ridge, to the Haida Gwaii Museum in Skidegate, and to the Makah Museum in Neah Bay. Significant collections of his work are held by Princeton University Library and the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Processing Notes

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit. These materials have been arranged and described according to national and local standards. For more information, please refer to the Beinecke Manuscript Unit Processing Manual.

Each folder in the collection contains a single inkjet print.


Guide to the Owen Luck, Photographs of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
by Matthew Daniel Mason
February 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.