Kitselas Traditional Territory
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 two reserves close to the City of Terrace: Gitaus and Kulspai.
A description and the history of all of Kitselas’ reserves.
Kitselas Indian Reserve No.1. Original Tsimshian name: Git'aws
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.