Sovereign Graffiti on Haida Gwaii
A Photo Essay
Keywords:photography, protest, Haida Gwaii, military history
This photo essay centers the graffiti painted on the ruins of a former Canadian Forces military base in the Village of Masset on the islands of Haida Gwaii. Authored by a combined class of Haida and settler high school students, the graffiti, we argue, can be read as “sovereign” both in the relatively straightforward sense that it affirms Haida Title and the Nation’s sovereign rights, but also in a more expansive sense as a means of a means of articulating the complexities of what it means to be human, to be Haida or a neighbor of the Haida Nation, and to exist politically and personally without needing to draw firm distinctions between these categories. We situate these images in the history of the military base and its relation to the Haida Nation, while ultimately arguing that the graffiti both responds to and charts new paths forward for this complex of settler colonial relations.