Kitselas Canyon is one of the natural and cultural jewels of north-western British Columbia. It rests in the heart of the Kitselas First Nation traditional territory. The Canyon is home to four pre and post contact Kitselas villages: Tsunyow, Gitaus, Gitlasdzawk and Gitxtsaex. Archaeological research supports the oral history and has been able to carbon date evidence of occupation for at least 5,000 years. Kitselas Canyon contains a wealth of petroglyphs and the remains of what is now the only historic village on the Skeena River where remains of houses and totem poles from the 1800’s continue to exist.
The history of the Canyon is the history of the Kitselas people. Kitselas controlled transportation on the Skeena River and influenced trade between the coastal and the interior aboriginal people. Kitselas were the “customs brokers” of the ancient world and continued to influence transportation and collect revenues for passage through the Canyon during the riverboat era to the coming of the Grand Trunk Railway in the early 1900’s.
The history and physical beauty of the location makes the Kitselas Canyon Historic Site one of the region’s primary Aboriginal and Cultural Tourism destinations in the North West. The Canyon was designated a National Historic Site by Canada in 1972.