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:
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