A visual and cultural celebration of a traditional Haida wedding ceremony, exploring its roots, rituals, symbolism, joyfulness, and contemporary significance for a thriving Indigenous Nation.
In 1996, Terri-Lynn Williams and Robert Davidson celebrated their wedding with a traditional ceremony, the first in over a century that was legalized under Haida law. This book provides an intimate photographic window into that momentous day and marks the resurgence of a tradition that was nearly lost to colonial forces.
Relying on recorded knowledge their ancestors had shared with ethnographers and anthropologists, and the few details living Elders could recall about the tradition of guud ‘iina Gihl (“becoming married”) in the time before the arrival of Christian missionaries, the couple carefully planned out a seven-part celebration. It involved a canoe procession, ceremony, feast, dancing, and dowry payment, signifying the coming together of two people, two families, and two clans. The occasion is lovingly and painstakingly recounted through imagery and text in this fascinating tribute to a resilient culture and the unbreakable bonds of love and family.