The northern Pacific Northwest Coast, showing the position of the archipelago in relation to other islands in the region. The southern half of Prince of Wales Island is Kaigani Haida territory, but is not commonly included in the term Haida Gwaii.
Lyell Island, known also in the Haida language as Athili Gwaii, is a large island in the Haida Gwaii archipelago on the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada. The island is a part of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site and had been the focus of anti-logging demonstrations that led to the Haida protected area and the reserve for a national park. 72 Haida citizens were arrested by the RCMP and charged with Contempt of Court. Also arrested on Lyell Island was a Canadian Svend Robinson, MP, Lyell Island was the focus of protests as it entire lands and surrounding water are the territories of the Haida the Indigenous People and yet are subjected to Canadian territorial and jurisdictional claims . Additionally part of its forests had been a mortuary grove for those who were infected by the smallpox epidemics that ravaged the Indigenous Peoples of the archipelago in the 18th and 19th Centuries. For the Haida the island was a long-standing border agreed to by the Province of BC and local stakeholders seeking to curtail the provincially sanctioned logging. The Provincial Minister of Forest Tom Waterland announced that logging would shortly commence over the line. The Hadia response was clear that such a move was not acceptable. The islands of Haida Gwaii are separated from the British Columbia mainland to the east by Hecate Strait. Vancouver Island lies to the south, across Queen Charlotte Sound, while the U.S. state of Alaska is to the north, across the disputed Dixon Entrance.