top of page
Welcome to the Kitselas Canyon banner

Welcome to the Kitselas Canyon National Historic Site

Discover the rich history of the Kitselas people.

Kitselas Canyon

Nestled along the banks of the Skeena River in northwestern British Columbia sits Kitselas Canyon – a National Historic Site of Canada that has been an important place to the Gitselasu people of the Ts’msyen Nation for more than 6,000 years.

 

It’s soaring rock outcroppings, rising high above the Skeena River, made this location a strategic site to control trade between the coast and the interior.

Kitselas Canyon was home to up to six ancestral Gitselasu villages, including the villages of Gitseax and Gitlaxdzawk, a fortified site, which made it unique compared to other Indigenous villages along the north coast.  These two villages were occupied up until the 1870s.

Kitselas Canyon
Historic trade route

Historic trade route

In the 19th century, the Skeena River was an important transportation and trade route, making it a strategic place to locate the two villages.

 

The canyon enabled the Gitselasu to control trade not just with other Indigenous peoples prior to contact, but also in the early days of the fur trade, including trade with the Hudson’s Bay Company.

 

The fortress at Gitlaxdzawk was where the Gitselasu were able to exercise their prerogative as a force of economic stewards of the river. 

Archaeological remains

Today, the historical villages no longer stand, but a vast amount of archaeological evidence remains. Remains of some of the historic village sites are found along the length of the canyon. 

Located on nearly 70 hectares of land, the site is home to important evidence of this long-standing occupation, including the historic village sites, culturally modified trees (CMTs), archaeological evidence of caches, artifacts, forest gardens, and below-ground remains that contributed to its designation as a historic site. 

Archaeological remains
A National Historic Site

A National historic site

Kitselas Canyon became a National Historic site on October 19, 1972.

Today, you can find four interpretive buildings at the canyon, built in the traditional style of longhouses. The Canyon Trail includes four modern-day clan poles set amid towering hemlock and spruce trees as the path leads to the stunning viewing platform over the canyon.

Explore the rich cultural history at the Kitselas Canyon Nation Historic Site where you can discover the social, cultural and economic importance of this settlement area and see first-hand why this place remains important to the Kitselas people. 


 

About the Society

ABOUT US

The Gitselasu Stewardship Society is dedicated to preserving the rich history and culture of the Kitselas people.

Getting Here

GETTING HERE

Kitselas Canyon is located a 10-minute drive east of Terrace, B.C.

Book a Tour

KITSELAS CANYON

Take a walk amid towering old growth trees. Experience Kitselas Canyon and book a tour!

Kitselas News

NEWS

Stay informed on our latest news and learn about opportunities to get involved with Kitselas Canyon.

bottom of page