Gitxsan villages on Skeena & Kitwanga rivers

In the evening of September 19 on a round about path from Terrace to Hazelton we not only visited Nisga’a territory but also some of the Gitxsan. Native languages spoken in these areas are mutually intelligible but by those speakers understood as different languages, not merely dialects. Well an Allemanic speaker might think similarly of a Bavarian or Saxon speaker but each would not die of hunger or thirst in the other’s homeland. Nisga’a and Gitxsan belongs to the Tsimshian group of languages. Natural desasters drove some of them to the coast near Prince Rupert. One of these events may well have been the volcanic explosion some 250 years ago which burried villages along today’s Hwy 113 between Rosswood and New Ayansh. (See above on the Lava Beds.)

The road linking Hwy 113 with Hwy 37 is classified as not maintained wilderness road. Ok, call it pothole alley and meet the bears, the hares and also a mouse.

The reason hitch hiking is discouraged or straight out forbidden has to do with the disappearance of many girls and young women along the Hwy 16 corridor (and feeder routes) aka Highway of Tears.

Along the Kitwanga river there is Giwanyow with maybe two dozen poles and at the confluence of the Litwanga with the Skeena river the village of Kitwanga and a famous site, the Giwangak Battle Hill which we did however not climb up to, it being late in the day. So, come again another day.

Next morning we drove to Kispiox from our over-nighting place at Cataline Motel (named after a famous pack train owner whose traces one meets first in Clinton on Hwy 97). There another series of poles stand near the Skeena with a mountain backdrop in the distance to the NE.

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