Kitselas Traditional Territory stretches from the Pacific Ocean on British Columbia’s North Coast, about 200 kilometres inland, to the Skeena River Valley.
Our people have thrived in this territory for close to 5,000 years and we continue to live and work in this rich landscape.
The Kitselas Territory is comprised of several reservations. The majority of our people live on three of these reserves: Gitaus, Kulspai and Endadoon.
A description and the history of all of Kitselas’ reserves are below.
Kitselas Indian Reserve No.1. Original Tsimshian name: Git'aws
Kitselas Reserve No.1 is more commonly known as Kitselas Canyon. It was the traditional home for the Kitselas First Nation in prehistory. This location is the present home of the majority of current residents of the Kitselas First Nation. The canyon is situated at a constriction of the Skeena River that begins just upriver from the confluence of Kleanza Creek. The Canyon is accessible by trail from Highway 16 that passes by on the east side of the river, and by Canadian National Railway which passes through the Reserve on its west side.
Kitselas Indian Reserve No.1 was originally allotted by Commissioner O’Reilly on September 18, 1893. It was formally surveyed in 1901 and measured 1,102 acres in size. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was granted a 27.71 acre right-of-way through the Reserve around 1910. This property was transferred to the Canadian National Railway in the 1920’s.
In 1947 a “Surrender of Timber” was allowed under section 51(4) of the Indian Act. As a consequence, between 1955 and 1962 approximately 204 acres were logged primarily from the northeast corner of the Reserve. In 1974 Philpot Forestry services conducted a survey to determine if further harvesting of timber was feasible. They recommended that logging was not feasible as it was a threat to the high archaeological values of the canyon area.
Further archaeological surveys have indicated that the canyon is a heritage site of national importance.
Chimdimash Indian Reserve No.2. Original Tsimshian name: Tsmdimaas
Chimdimash Indian Reserve No.2 is located on the banks of the Skeena River at its junction with both Chimdimash and Shannon Creeks. It can be reached by Highway 16, which passes through the Reserve on the east side of the river, and by the Canadian National Railway on the west.
Chimdimash Indian Reserve No.2 was originally allotted by Commissioner O’Reilly October 6, 1891. It was formally surveyed in 1901 and measured 214 acres in size.
The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway claimed a right-of-way through the Reserve around 1910. This allotment was transferred to Canadian National Railway in the 1920’s and currently measures 5.71 acres in size.
In 1971 British Columbia claimed a further 11.7 acres for a highway right-of-way.
Chimdimash Indian Reserve No.2A. Original Tsimshian name: Tsmdimaas
Chimdimash Indian Reserve No.2A is located on the west bank of the Skeena River just north of Chimdimash Indian Reserve No.2. This reserve is accessible by Highway 16.
Commission O’Reilly originally allotted Chimdimash IR No.2A on September 18, 1893.
In 1967, British Columbia took 24.13 acres from IR No.2A for a highway right-of-way.
From 1966 to 1973 a 3.96 acre gravel pit lease was granted. In 1973 a second gravel lease of .88 was also made.
Ikshenigwolk Indian Reserve No.3. Original Tsimshian name: Ks'nigwaalk
Ikshenigwolk Indian Reserve No.3 is located on the east side of the Skeena River and on both banks of Legate Creek. It is accessible by Highway 16, which passes through the Reserve.
Commissioner O’Reilly originally allotted Ikshenigwolk Indian Reserve No.3 on October 6, 1891. A formal survey was completed in 1901, indicating that the parcel measured 71 acres in size.
British Columbia claimed an area of 11.41 acres of the Reserve for a highway right-of-way. In 1973 a timber harvest permit was also issued.
Kshish Indian Reserve No.4. Original Tsimshian name: Endedoon
Kshish Indian Reserve No.4 is known as Endedoon. It is the location where the survivors of villages in Kitselas Canyon relocated in the late 1880’s. The reserve is presently occupied only in summer months.
IR No.4 is located on the west side of the Skeena River immediately opposite to the outfall of the Zymoetz River. It is accessible by road and the Canadian National Railway.
Commissioner O’Reilly originally allotted Kshish Indian Reserve No.4 on October 6, 1891. IR No.4 was first surveyed in 1901. At a later date a smaller IR No.4A was designated. Both parcels were amalgamated, and jointly consisted of an area of 704 acres.
The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway claimed a right-of-way through IR No.4 in the early 1900’s. This tenure was transferred to the Pacific National Railway in the 1920’s, then consisting of an area of 65.70 acres.
In 1947 timber rights to the Reserve were surrendered.
Kshish Indian Reserve No.4B. Original Tsimshian name: Endedoon
Kshish Indian Reserve No.4B is 10 acres in size. It’s on the northeastside of IR No.4.
It was created in 1928 by order of the Royal Commission for use as a cemetery.
Zaimoetz Indian Reserve No.5. Original Tsimshian name: Tsmhuutsa
Zaimoetz Indian Reserve No.5 is on the east bank of the Skeena River, at its junction with the Zymoetz River. It is accessible via Highway 16, which cuts through the centre of the Reserve.
Commissioner O’Reilly originally allotted Zaimoetz Indian Reserve No.5 on October 6, 1891. A formal survey of the parcel was made in 1901 that determined an area of 270 acres.
In 1962 the whole of the Reserve was surrendered for leasing. It was leased for a 21-year term in 1963 to Celgar Ltd. for the purpose of storing logs and machinery, as well as to provide a right-of-way to allow access from Highway 16 to the Zymoetz River watershed. In 1975 the 21-year lease over the entire Reserve was surrendered for a 9-year lease of a smaller .853 acre parcel.
In 1970, a 6.28 acre right-of-way was claimed by Pacific Northern Gas Company. A gas pipeline running from northeast BC to Kitimat and Prince Rupert traverses the Reserve.
In 1970 British Columbia claimed an additional 39.71 acres for a highway right-of-way. A new highway bridge constructed in this period required placement of a long training dyke. The velocity of the river through this structure has caused extensive downstream erosion.
Kulspai Indian Reserve No.6. Original Tsimshian name: Gn spaa
Kulspai Indian Reserve No.6 is across the Skeena River from the community of Terrace. Traditionally, Kuslpai was utilized as a place where canoes were beached as people moved southward to Lakelse Lake.
Commissioner O’Reilly originally allotted Kulspai Indian Reserve No.6 on October 6, 1891. In 1901 a formal survey determined that the Reserve was 17 acres in size.
A 1.73 acre highway right-of-way through the Reserve was claimed by British Columbia.
In 1973 the Reserve was surveyed into smaller lots to aid the process of residential development.
Ketoneda Indian Reserve No.7. Original Tsimshian name: Git'ndaa
Ketoneda Indian Reserve No.7 is located on the east side of the Skeena River about three miles north of the outfall of Oliver Creek. It is accessible by Highway 16, which cuts through the Reserve.
Ketoneda IR No.7 was originally allotted by Commission O’Reilly on October 6, 1891. A formal survey made in 1901 determined that the parcel was 101 acres in size.
A 4.53 acre highway right-of-way was claimed by British Columbia for reconstruction of Highway 16.
Spkshuut Indian Reserve No.8
Spkshuut Reserve, within the boundaries of Port Essington, is a reserve held in trust for both Kitselas and Kitsumkalum First Nations. The total reserve size is 10 acres.