Haisla Architecture


The three main villages of the Haisla First Nation are located on the foreshore of the Douglas and Gardner Channels and are considered linguistically to be Northern Wakashan, though their territories are isolated from the Kwakwaka’wakw. They have considerable contact with the Southern Tshimshian on the coast, and the Coast Tshimshian to the north and inland. Theirs is a fully developed matrilineal society, whose architecture and monumental art closely resemble that of the Tsimshian.

The traditional Haisla house has a gabled roof with double ridgepoles, a central fire pit and an adjustable smoke hole. The post and beam structure is sheathed with vertical wall planks which are held in place by slotted top and bottom plates. Cedarbark mats were used for insulation on the interior of the outer walls in the past, and the front facades of the houses are usually painted with crest and guardian figures.

Textual information for this page: Hamori-Torok, 1990.

The Bill Reid Centre does not have any pictures of traditional Haisla architecture or contemporary architecture using the traditional style. If you have images or know where we can locate some, please contact us