Haida love poem
X̱ánjaangwaay aa dáng ḵinggang
Kil dla háani díinaa íijang
Sgingula hl híiluusaang
G̱udgwáa ’láanaa, "Dáng díi ḵwiiyáada!"
You are seen in the mirror
Is my beautiful words
Be quick, it will vanish
It's my last "I love you!"
→ French poem ←
Here is the translation of my little love poem in Haida (Northern or Alaskan Haida, Southern or Canadian Haida, autonyms: Xaad kil, X̱aat Kíl, X̱aadas Kíl, X̱aayda Kil), which is the isolated language of the Haida people.
Originally and today, Haida is spoken in Canada on the Queen Charlotte Islands or Haida Gwaïi = Islands of the People, in British Columbia in Skidegate and Old Massett. By the past the Haida Gwaïi was called Xàaydlaa Gwaayaay (islands of origin).
Haida is also spoken in the United States, in the South-eastern Alaska in Hydaburg, Craig and Ketchikan. In Alaska the Haida where as an official statut.
To be more precise, this translation, is in the northern dialect, exactly in the Kaigani dialect.
There are two main dialect groups, the dialects of the north (Alaska) and those of the south (Canada). Those in the north remained more conservative while in the south in the 19th century, due to more numerous exchanges, a Haida pidgin was even created.
In the beginning of the 20th century, it became common to send children to boarding schools. In these boarding schools as it was forbidden to speak the indigenous languages, Haida saw its number of speakers drop very quickly.
For the Haida language, even if the community, aware of the risk of losing its language, seeks to teach it, it must be considered that this language is in great danger. Today it is almost extinct, it only has a dozen speakers, which shows the urgency of preserving it.
Preserving a language means preserving the secrets it conceals, the ideas it conveys, and for these indigenous peoples, it means preserving knowledge of the nature that surrounds them.
Haida is a polysynthetic language, ie a language that can show very long words, including several morphemes, which alone can represent a sentence. Before linguists and anthropologists, missionaries first described the Haida language, culture and people.
The Haidas whose number is perhaps 6,000 are an indigenous people of the islands of extreme northeast Canada and extreme southeast Alaska. They were two to three times more numerous.
The first Europeans to encounter them were the Spaniards, followed by the French and then the English. These contacts decimated them by bringing all kinds of epidemics.
The Haida Gwaii which is their historical territory, is an archipelago of more than 150 islands, in the northeast of the British Columbia. The two main islands are Graham Island and Moresby Island.
In the 18th century some of them, perhaps because of pressure, or perhaps to get closer to areas to trade with the Russians, moved a little further north in Alaska, in a commercial area called Kaigani, and at the end replaced the Tlingit speakers who lived there.
Haida culture is rich in myths and traditional songs. Currently the youngest are still very inspired to compose new songs.