Home of the seamasters

Rather than retain its reflexive salute to yet another Important White Guy—William Healy Dall—or a ouiji-board name-drift—Ostrov Dolgoi>Long Island—we need a logical ‘prename’ for this magnificent pair of K’áykaanii Haida islands. As important as it was both ecologically and culturally, Dall Island has no surviving Lingít or Haida name—at least not in the Thornton & Marten 2012 cultural atlas, which is rather weak on the Haida side. A Haida name for Long Island exists, but the translation is unknown: Gwaadúu Gwáay. Instead, I’ve chosen what was probably the most significant settlement in the province at time of contact—Howkan, on northern, inner Long. Even Howkan is a corruption, from the Haida Gáwk’yaan, no transl. The Tlingit, who live here before, called it Kátgaawtan, drum on both sides.

At 533 square miles, Howkan is Southeast’s smallest biogeographic province. It has the mildest winters in Southeast. Sea-level snow is rare and quick to melt.

Náas, no translation? Diver Islands, off the northwestern end of Dall Island. Deeply etched Silurian marble spans the island in several bands, where most of the logging has concentrated.