MATHEWES, Rolf




Author Tags: First Nations

A professor of biological sciences at Simon Fraser University, Rolf Mathewes co-edited Haida Gwaii: Human History and Environment from the Time of Loon to the Time of the Iron People (UBC Press, 2005), with Daryl Fedje.

In the book, Guujaaw, president of the Haida Nation, attempts to put the intersection of science and tribal histories into perspective: “Science is coming of age, and while there is convergence and a reconciling of science with our histories,” he writes, “scientists may have to take our word on certain facts. It was because Raven fooled around with his uncle’s wife that Gahllns Kun (his uncle) spun his hat and caused the water to rise, accounting for one of the floods. Scientists are still trying to figure out how the sun and the moon got up there, and while they have their theories, give them time and they will come back to us. And we can tell them, because it was told…”

Haida Gwaii: Human History and Environment from the Time of Loon to the Time of the Iron People brings together the results of extensive archaeological, ethno-historical and paleo-environmental work in the isolated north coast archipelago. More than 20 scientists, along with Fedje and Mathewes, contributed to the book, and members of the Haida Nation participated in much of the field work. It presents new data on ice retreat, shoreline and sea level change, animal communities and human history.

[BCBW 2005] "First Nations"

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Haida Gwaii: Human History and Environment from the Time of the Loon to the Time of the Iron People