Kitselas First Nations is a financially self-sufficient and self-governing Nation that provides responsible leadership in all we do.
- We stand united, supporting each other unconditionally.
- We share and create knowledge, according to our cultural teachings, to build a stronger future for our people.
- We uphold the highest level of professionalism incluidng being knowledgeable, kind, polite, solution-oriented and time conscious.
- We role model integrity practicing honesty, fairness, respect, transparency and the healthy use of humour.
- We draw our resillience from our commitment to one another, learning from the past, acting in the present while plannign for the future.
- Kitselas traditional territory is located in Northwest British Columbia. Our reserves and territory surround the City of Terrace and the mighty Skeena River.
Kitselas is a progressive Nation. We are proud of our heritage and our achievements, both historic and contemporary.
Kitselas’ population is approximately 700 people. About half of our people live on the Kitselas reserve of Gitaus, a 15-minute drive east of Terrace. Others in the area live in Kulspai, a smaller reserve west of Terrace. The rest of our population is spread throughout Vancouver, Prince George, Prince Rupert and other places.
Gitselasu (Kitselas) means ‘people of the Canyon’ in the Tsimshian language of Sm’algyax.
The Kitselas Canyon, located in Gitaus, 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. The Canyon is now a National Historic Site of Canada and open to visitors. Four longhouses and several totem poles are onsite.
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
Kitselas culture is multilayered. Our culture is in our language, our stories, our traditions, our dance, our art, our relations and much more.
Kitselas is one of 14 Tsimshian tribes in BC, seven of which are located in Northwest British Columbia.
The language of the Kitselas people is Sm’algyax, the language of the great Tsimshian Nation, of which Kitselas is part.
In Sm’algyax, Gitselasu (Kitselas) means the ‘people of the canyon’, and refers to the Kitselas Canyon, located in Gitaus reserve, on the Skeena River.
Tsimshian culture is grounded in the adawx (narratives that tell history). Adawx tell about the origins of the world from a Tsimshian perspective. Adawx are stories that have been passed on from generation to generation. They are defined as ‘true tellings’ or ‘sacred history.’ Read our stories below.
Everyone in the Tsimshian First Nation belongs to a clan or a sub-clan. Kitselas has four main clans:
- Gispudwada (Killerwhale)
- Laxgiboo (Wolf)
- Laxsgiik (Eagle)
- Ganhada (Raven)
Kitselas celebrates its elders and traditions. Many of our members still hunt and fish, and prepare and share meat and food as we did in the past.
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