Haida Civilization

Aoe3 has its roots in the story of exploration and colonization of the Western hemisphere, and now we are seeing all kinds of new civilizations that branch out into new territory - Africa, post colonial nations and new natives like Inca etc. I think that in the spirit of AOE3: The Warchiefs, that a representative for the natives of the Pacific Northwest is a perfect fit in light of the recent civ dlc for the USA and Mexico. So I would put forward the idea of bringing in Haida and allies from the region to AOE3. I’m actually surprised it doesnt come up more often.

Who are the Haida and the natives of the Pacific Northwest:

Many may say that they havent heard much of the Haida or know little about the history of the group of peoples that they are just one of in the northwest: Haida, Tsimshian, Nootka, Kwakiutl, Coast Salish and that would lead people to dismiss them as being a bad choice for aoe3, but they have a rich and storied history in relation to the time period of AOE3 and many of the civilizations currently in game.

The Haida live on the Archipelago on the western coast of Canada known to them as Haida Gwaii and by others as the Queen Charlotte Islands, along with southeastern Alaska with their allies the Tlingit. The Haida and their friends and enemies in the region were well known for their naval prowess and in many cases captured British and American ships - to the point that they captured dozens of ships including the Resolution, the Eleanor and Susan Sturgis. The Haida and others in the region had a long history of fighting with and against colonial powers (and arguably are very active in this sphere to this day). They were all apart of a complex system of kinship and economy in the region that spanned over thousands of years.

The Tlingit famously fought the Russians in Alaska, the Tsimshian became wealthy in the fur and oolichan oil trade, and the Haida and Lekwiltok Kwakiutl were known to raid as far south as California for riches and slaves. All of these groups built fortified strongholds in the mountains in similar fashion to the Maori in new Zealand, and were known to have constructed elaborate defenses including spiked rolling log traps and captured cannons from ships overlooking prominent trade routes and sea passages. https://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/aborig/tsimsian/images/warfo01b.jpg
Battle of Sitka - Wikipedia

Info on Haida from Canadian museum of Civilization:

Vibe pic:

Wiki info on Haida:

Info on Tsimshian, fellow PNW natives that were a part of their cultural sphere:

The Haida, Tsimshian, Tlingit and Kwakiutl
Beautiful illustrations of the culture and warfare of the Haida and other PNW during the heyday of their societies in the 1800’s.

There was a Haida civilization in an old game called American Conquest, that was not one of my favorites gameplay wise, but in terms of art they knocked it out of the park - this video just gives you an idea of how interesting the design would be:

Ok so that all looks cool, why the Haida and not Tlingit or Kwakiutl?

The Haida in a lot of ways are seen as having been an important cultural force that tied the common PNW culture together, and in a lot of cases the other tribes reacted to their power. They were known as particularly warlike, and intermarried and influenced all of what is now western Canada. The Haida and the Tlingit were northern tribes that lived side by side and other tribes like the coast salish would adopt many of their life ways like their massive war canoes and today, the carving of Totem poles, which was thought to have been first practiced by the northern tribes such as the Haida and Kwakiutl. They were also very mobile, being a people from an island homeland, they depended on their prowess on the water.

Therefore I think a civilization centered on the Haida, but incorporating their “allies” in the region (Tsimshian, Kwakiutl, Coast Salish, Nootka, Athabaskan) in a fashion similar to the USA age up states would allow AOE3 to have a very robust and exciting addition to the game that represents an important era in the history of the West.

So what are some key elements of gameplay this civ would offer?

Some key points about the Haida and other PNW natives is that in general they did not practice large scale agriculture, in part because it is thought to have not been necessary to them: they would thrive on the massive salmon runs and natural resources of the Northwest. By catching all they could sustainably during the salmon runs and preserving it by smoking it to sustain themselves during the relatively mild winters. In anthropological terms they were known as “complex hunter gatherers” which was a term that I believe was first created for the northwest among a few other places that showed high levels of societal development in the absence of agriculture due to the abundance of resources that provided ample free time to pursue complex societal development. Having studied native groups in college, I think that there is ample evidence that they had a very complex system of using horticultural and forest gardening practices to supplement their salmon stores. The use of natural resources on the map and maintaining access to them into later in the game could be a central part of playing the Haida.

The social organization of the Northwest Coast in general is very complex, and one could make very extensive gameplay elements by taking cues off of the unique elements of their society such as the moieties, the potlach, and the extensive trade networks that stretched up and down the coast and into the interior of BC.

Warfare wise, the Northwest Coast had a variety of different groups that fought in different ways who had different strengths and weaknesses. For example, the Coast Salish were frequently the subject of the raids from the Haida and Kwakiutl, but also intermarried in some cases. The Coast Salish were known for their large longhouses and while a major part of the pacific northwest cultural sphere, they were well known for their unique elements in warfare - "They recognize no superior chief" : power, practice, anarchism and warfare in the Coast Salish past - UBC Library Open Collections

Determining what constitutes the larger Pacific Northwest native culture that applies to the Haida is complex, especially in regards to warfare, since the region is very complex and has a large amount of linguistic and cultural boundaries between tribes that are variously interacting with eachother throughout history. This leaves a large swath of sources and ideas that could be drawn from to create a civilization that is exciting and historically relevant, but while also doing everything it can to be a respectful depiction of the overall culture.

The Haida and their neighbors were some of the last native groups in North America to be engulfed by the nations of USA and Canada, so the records for those interactions are fairly well documented. This also made them quite adaptive to the new tools and weapons of Europeans. There are a variety of ways this could be represented in game.

Part 2 I would like to go into detail about ideas: Stay tuned


Part 2:

Preliminary design ideas (im just throwing a lot of this out there as somewhere to start and get some ideas flowing, based on my understanding of the history and lore of the groups):

The general Idea is that they would not have farms available at least early in the game. They would have to make do with natural resources on the map, and will have technologies and shipments available that prolong and help boost the availability of the resources on the map. Think cherry orchards for japan or the way sweden can spawn berries and similar. They would have good naval capabilities but not be dependent on it. Late game they can get access to “gardens” or “camas fields” which they had historically and would supplement their food reserves.

A predominantly infantry civ, they are not known for using horses due to the marine and wooded nature of their environment, their primary strength is with elite armored warriors that used a very specific type of armor that is thought to have had semi-legendary resistance to the gunpowder weapons of the time. The helmets were carved of cedar burls that had the natural strength to deflect musket ball at range. These warriors make up much of the high end units. Combined with the commandeered artillery and that acquired through trade, they would be formidable - having adapted to european ways of war despite its lack of cavalry.

Buildings and units:
(all names functional and would be more aptly named based on historical research)

Town Center

  • Native Villager
  • Warchief

Longhouse - 20 pop

Stronghouse - Advanced military building, can garrison villagers, upgrade to cannon

  • Armored Warrior w/dagger
  • War Society armored Musketeer (heavy musk)
  • Heavy Melee Warrior (melee siege/aoe ala skull warrior)

War Hut - Basic military Building, arrow attack

  • Spear Warrior
  • Clubman
  • Armored archer
  • Skirmisher


  • Native Field Cannon - ala iroquois
  • Native Bombard - (captured naval cannon repurposed)
  • Native Mortar


  • Canoe
  • War Canoe
  • Head Canoe - canoe that can spawn units and provides buff aura (this is one of the oldest types of war canoe, was used historically as a kind of “flagship” with crest displayed on prominently large bows.)
  • Captured Sloop - Unlocked through shipment or by performing some kind of raiding


  • Shaman - healer and maybe has a demoralization attack


Native Embassy

  • Western Outlaws
  • Native allies

Age up choices (add one for each age minus the one chosen):

Age 1:
Tsimshian Allies - Economic
Tlingit Allies - Military
Kaigani Haida - Extra villagers
Kwakiutl Allies - Technology/buffs
Nootka Allies - Military

Age 2:
Coast Salish Allies - Food/resources

Age 3:
British/Canadians - European Tech

  • Unlocks Bella Coola ship (native made sloop)

Age 4:
Haida Gwaii - Top end Haida Improvements (like Japanese nativist at consulate)

Miscellaneous Shipments:

Unit Shipments:
Nootka Clubman (nootka allies)
Nootka Chieftan (nootka allies)
Tlingit Warrior
Tsimshian Stone Warrior (temporary “invincibility” ability based on heroic tales from era)
Nez Perce Chieftan (nez perce allies, kimited access to cavalry)
Nez Perce Horseman (nez perce allies)
Lekwiltok Raiders
Bella Coola Ship (ships built in european fashion highly skilled)
Athabaskan tracker (Natives from the interior with stealth and maybe hunting capabilities)
Wildman (exiled natives)
Rogue Bostonmen (American regulars)
Courier du bois (french fur traders)

Bentwood Boxes - Food crates
Coppers - Experience
Blankets - Wealth
Oolichan oil - Wealth/food
Tsimshian Kitwanga fort - Fort travois

Drift Iron - Increased Melee damage for infantry (historically had iron weapons from asian shipwrecks for thousands of years)
Chinese Coins - Defense bonus to armored units (trade coins from china were made into a chainmail type armor)

Additional mechanic ideas:

On top of this additional “gimmick” mechanics can be added to make it really unique:
Potlach system - sacrifice resources for buffs or some effect
Raiding system
Unlocking Euro technology through combat
Totem poles (this would actually be appropriate in this case as they are the best known for them)
Shame Poles - “debuff” poles
“Seasonal” harvest cycle that makes you stockpile resources for a certain time like the Haida did during salmon season


Chinese copper coin armor ,Is that what you’re talking about?



Thats it :slight_smile:
Pretty interesting isnt it, doubt it does all that much good but looks cool.

Thats it! I’ve changed my mind today and i choose Haida civilization because i really find it is pretty interesting but of course Persia is still my number one wishlist.

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An interesting buried antique link on Haida Warfare from Canadian Museum of History that has pretty vivid detail about Haida warfare

Diamond Jenness Anthropologist, coining them “Indian Vikings of the North West Coast”: -

Those were stirring times, about a century ago, when the big Haida war canoes, each hollowed out of a single cedar tree and manned by fifty or sixty warriors, traded and raided up and down the coast from Sitka in the north to the delta of the Fraser River in the south. Each usually carried a shaman or medicine man to catch and destroy the souls of enemies before an impending battle; and the women who sometimes accompanied the warriors fought as savagely as their husbands.


If anyone is interested in a deep dive in one of the earliest ethnographies of the Northwest coast natives, there is a lot of information in Franz Boas’ writings on the Kwakiutl,

There are many books and much of it deals with the social relations, but their warfare and physical culture is covered too. Some of the information is outdated and may be controversial since it was published in 1921, and other ethnographies were done as far back as the late 1800s. The Kwakiutl are the Haida’s neighbors to the south, on the north end of Vancouver Island and the inside passage who were a part of the greater cultural sphere of the Northwest and representative in a lot of ways of the classic Northwest high native culture.

I know of many scholarly sources from more recent research on the Northwest - if anyone is interested.


I hope Devs take a look at ur Ideas, would be cool and something different. :slight_smile:

Ps: American Conquest was fun.


The other two were more visited. I think I posted this one too soon, the forum is still overwhelmed by bug reports and other things for something like a civ concept to be noticed yet.
People seemed most interested in the Seven Fires concept, tbh, but both the Nahuatl and Seven Fires brought something no other civ has ever had - the ability to build on water and a civ that went from stationary to more nomadic as the game went on.

I get the feeling that in large part people are really focused on some Europe content, for various reasons. Its an obvious gap in the game at this point and a lot of people want one nationality or another represented in terms of a power matrix of the 16th-19th century world. I have always had a differing view on why one civ should be chosen over another but hopefully enough content comes along that we can get a good mix of new civs of various types.

I do take a personal interest in Haida and such because studying North American history is part of my background. That being said I think people have largely ignored how fascinating the northwest was both prehistorically and historically. Partly because there are some sociopolitical complexities regarding modern day depictions in things like video games (similar to what we see with the other native civs and how they had to redo some mechanics).

Naturally id love to see Persia and a European theatre, but I enjoy the new world theme because it really highlights how different the worlds were that met and can provide some really interesting content.