Welcome to the Gitga’at First Nation website, where you will find information about the community, its lands and waters, and current projects.
The Gitk’a’ata are a part of the Tsimshian peoples, and have occupied the lands and waters around Txalgiuw (Hartley Bay), for millennia. Today, about 130 Gitk’a’ata live in Hartley Bay, with another 500 in Prince Rupert, and others in Terrace, Vancouver Island, and Vancouver, BC.
Look at the images as they appear on this page. Gitk’a’ata people regard these places as spiritually enriched by the traces of their ancestors: petroglyphs, burial sites, shell middens, culturally modified trees and other important historical and/or archaeological sites. Gitk’a’ata Territory is the ceremonial and political base of the Gitga’at Nation. Today, as in the past, Gitk’a’ata people maintain an active relationship with their Traditional Territory. Many community-members residing in Prince Rupert return to the Territory regularly to join their families at harvest sites for seasonal food production. Along with the main village of Txalgiw (Hartley Bay), the Territory is where children learn about harvesting, cutting and drying fish, seaweed and other resources; through watching, listening, and participating with Elders.
Although the Gitga’at First Nation operates a modern-day governance administration with an elected band council, social and ceremonial power continues to derive from its customary structure, which based around the Chiefly Sm’ooygyet (“Real person”), representative of three clans or crest groups: Gispudwada, (blackfish or killerwhale), Laxsgiik (Eagle), and Ganhada (Raven). Gitk’a’ata members enter into these clan structures at birth and are taught practices that uphold clan identity and strength throughout their lives. The protection and celebration of Traditional culture is of the upmost importance to Gitk’a’ata. Whether with the continuance of Traditional feasting or the development of new media literacy programs at the local high-school, Gitk’a’ata leadership welcomes opportunities which support the self-determination of the Gitk’a’ata people.
The institutions of Gitk’a’ata have persevered through Canadian residential schools, ban on feasting and potlatching (1885-1951), social welfare legislation facilitating the removal of aboriginal children from their families (e.g. the “Sixties Scoop”), and the persistent threat of regional energy development. To protect its culture and natural heritage, and to ensure the flourishing of new generations, the Nation supports an Indigenous-led environmental monitoring program (“the Gitga’at Guardians”), local eco-tourism economies, aquaculture, collaborative research with diverse academic communities, and a community newsletter (‘Amhaw Gitga’at’). The Gitk’a’ata welcome you to look through these pages and to contact its administration with further questions. In acknowledging these words as a non-member of the community, you are kindly notified to ask permission before visiting to Txalgiw, or drawing any Traditional cultural content for personal use.
Hartley Bay Band Office:
445 Hayimiisaxaa Way, Hartley Bay, BC V0V 1A0