Haida men and women used a robe of woven cedar-bark or of fur. Women also wore a kilt of bark fringe across the front of the thighs. Spruce-root or bark hats and bark capes for rainy weather completed the Haida costume. Feet and legs were bare. Shell pendants were worn in the ears and nose, and women wore labrets in the lower lip. The hair was usually arranged in a knot at the nape of the neck. Every one of good birth had numerous tattooed animal figures on the chest, back, arms, and legs. These represented the family or clan crests.
The roof of a primitive Haida house sloped from the middle to both sides, and the boards ran with the slope. Wall-boards were perpendicular. A tall, carved house-pole displaying various crests of the family generally stood in the middle of the front wall, the doorway sometimes being a mouth of one of the figures. The best houses were built over a fairly deep excavation lined with heavy timbers.
The principal storage food was dried dog-salmon. Halibut and black cod were the next commonest fish. Stranded whales were welcome finds, and hair-seals furnished considerable meat and oil. Black bears, the only large quadrupeds on the islands, were sometimes killed. Berries and roots of many kinds were plentiful.