Our History

Archaeological and ethnographic evidence suggests people have occupied the Kitselas Canyon area for at least 5,000 years.

Gitselasu (Kitselas) means ‘people of the Canyon’ in the Tsimshian language of Sm’algyax. The Kitselas Canyon, located in Gitaus reserve, on the Skeena River, is the heart of the Kitselas nation. The Canyon is a stronghold of the Kitselas people, who once charged traders and travelers on the river a toll to pass through.

Kitselas thrived in the period before contact. Our society was healthy and strong, a rich culture with deep spiritual connection to the lands and resources. Despite challenges, our people are working together to build a future in which our Nation and our culture continues to thrive.

While the Canyon is home, Kitselas extensively uses the resources throughout the North Coast and the lower Nass River systems to sustain our economy.

View a PowerPoint presentation about Kitselas’ historic timeline, starting in the 1700s