The people of Masset inlet and the north end of Haida Gwaii generally are called by their southern kinsmen Gaw-Xaat’áay, 'big bay people,' and those living around the southern point of the group are called Gunghet-haidagai (Ga'ñxet xā'idagai), from the name of one of the most southerly capes in their territory. All of these latter finally settled in the town afterward known to whites as Ninstints, and hence came to be called Ninstints people.
The principal towns known to have been occupied from 1774 to recent times, although not always contemporaneously, are the following, the Kaigani towns being marked with an asterisk, and remaining towns (reserves) in bold:
|Chaahl (on Moresby island)|
K’áyk’ Áanii (Kaigani)
Of these only Gawk’an, Guskun, Kayung, Hlan Gwan, Masset, and Skidegate are now inhabited.
In addition there was formerly an immense number of small towns hardly distinguishable from camps, places that had been occupied as towns at some former time, and mythic or semimythic towns. The following is a partial list of these:
Chaahl (on North id.)
Gado (2 towns)
Kundji (2 towns)
Lanahawa (2 towns)
Lanas-lnagai (3 towns)
An estimate of the Haida population made, according to Dawson, by John Work, between 1836 and 1841, gives a total of 8,328, embracing 1,735 Kaigani and 6,593 islanders.
Dawson estimated the number of people on Haida Gwaii islands. In 1880 as between 1,700 and 2,000.
An estimate made for the Canadian Department of Indian Affairs in 1888 (Ann. Rep., 317) gives 2,500, but the figures were evidently exaggerated, for when a census of Masset, Skidegate, and Gold Harbor was taken the year after (Ann. Rep., 272) it gave only 637. This, however, left out of consideration the people of New Kloo.
In 1894 (Ann. Rep., 280), when these were first added to the list, the entire Haida population was found to be 639.
The figures for the year following were 593, but from that time showed an increase and stood at 734 in 1902.
In 1904, however, they had suffered a sharp decline to 587. Petroff in 1880-81 reported 788 Kaigani, but this figure may be somewhat too high, since Dall about the same time estimated their number at 300.
According to the census of 1890 there were 391, and they are now (1905) estimated at 300. The entire Haida population would thus seem to be about 900.
The entire stock is divided into two "sides" or family clans--Raven and Eagle each of which is subdivided and re-subdivided into numerous smaller local groups. Some names are spelled phonetically and may have changed. Each family clan was descended from one woman.