Social Organization. Although there was no ranking of lineages, there is some evidence that some lineages were considered to be wealthier or more powerful than others. At the individual level, there were three social categories—nobles, commoners, and slaves. Nobles owned the houses, were generally wealthier, inherited chieftanships, used high-rank names, and hosted potlatches. Commoners did not have access to these signs of status. Slaves were war captives and their children.
Political Organization. There was no overarching political structure above the lineage level of organization. Each lineage was led by a chief who inherited the position through the matriline. That is, the title was passed on to next oldest brother, other younger brothers, or the oldest sister's oldest son. Chiefs made decisions regarding property use, internal Lineage business, and war. The owner of the dwelling was the house chief who managed the affairs of the domestic unit. In multilineage settlements, the "town master" or "town mother" was the highest ranking, wealthiest house chief.
Conflict. The Haida were feared warriors and fought with the Coast Tsimshian, Bellabella, and Southern Tlingit, among others, for plunder, revenge, or slaves. Internal warfare also existed.
Social Control. Social control was maintained at the Lineage, town, and household levels by the appropriate chiefs. The fairly rigid class system served to reinforce expectations about appropriate behavior.