The lands of the Gitksan Nation include approximately 33,000 square kilometres in the northwest British Columbia . There are six villages within a radius of 75 kilometers in the Hazelton area. There is a distinctive dialect difference between the eastern Gitksan (Anspayaxw, Sikadok and Gitanmaax) and the western (Gitsegukla, Gitwangak and Gitanyow).

The Gitksan culture, tradition and language are the basis of who we are as Gitksan.  Presently, in the Kispiox Elementary School, children from Nursery to Grade 7 are being taught Gitksanimx. From the first day of Nursery school, the young children will be taught basic vocabulary.

We are a matrilineal society and all members are born into their House Group and follow their mother.  Our feast system is our governing body where the business is taken care of.  Feasts are very much alive and practised withing the Gitksan territory. 

It is amazing to see the strength and support one receives from their family, their House Group and other clan members when they carry out the business after losing a loved one or to complete the business with a headstone/fence feast.

Social Structure

The Gitksan kinship is matrilineal so everyone is born into his/her mother's clan and house and can belong to one of three Gitksan clans in the eastern region - Gigeenix: Lax Gibuu (Wolf); Lax Seel or Ganada (Frog); Gisgaast (Fireweed); and one of four clans in the western region - Gyeets:  Lax Gibuu (Wolf), Ganada (Frog); Gisgaast (Fireweed) or Lax Skiik (Eagle).

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Pdeek (Clans of the Gitksan)

Within the Gitksan Nation there are specific clans that each member belongs to.  As we are a matrilineal society, each member is born into his/her clan and follows his/her mother.

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Liligit (Feasts)

Feasts are still practiced today in each of the six Gitksan communities and the events are held in a feast hall. They are held upon a death of a family member, the raising of a totem pole or the erection of a headstone and fence.

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Gyadim Gan (Totem Poles)

One of the main tourist attractions along the Skeena river is our Totem Poles.  There are approximately 24 Hereditary Poles that belong to different House Groups.

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