Histories, Territories and Laws of the Kitwancool
Second Edition, with a New Foreword by the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs
A new edition of the groundbreaking 1959 publication created in collaboration with the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs.
This beautiful new edition of the histories and laws of the Gitanyow (literally "people of the small/narrow place," once called the Kitwancool in settler accounts), as recounted to museum curator Wilson Duff in 1958, includes a new foreword by the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs while preserving the original text.
Until the mid-twentieth century, the village of Gitanyow (once Kitwancool) was only accessible to outsiders by trail. This inaccessibility of territory protected a deeply independent spirit and unique legal system, recorded here as part of an agreement that allowed for the removal of Gitanyow totem poles to the Royal BC Museum for preservation. The complete histories of the Gitanyow, told in their own words, were also translated and recorded here as part of the same agreement.
This publication not only captures the histories, territories and laws of the Gitanyow, but also a significant moment in time for settler-Indigenous relations, and the origin story for totem poles still standing at the Royal BC Museum today.
About this Author
Kitwancool is the former name of the Gitanyow First Nation of the Gitksan people. The Gitanyow's traditional territory encompasses 6,200 square kilometres of the northwestern part of the land known as British Columbia. The Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs are the governing body of the Gitanyow First Nation.
Wilson Duff (1925-1976) was curator of anthropology at the BC Provincial Museum (now the Royal BC Museum from 1950 to 1965. Constance Cox (1881-1960) was a Canadian teacher of Tlingit ancestry who lived and taught with the Gitksan people and served as interpreter for several anthropologists.
The Royal BC Museum explores the province's human history and natural history, advances new knowledge and understanding of British Columbia, and provides a dynamic forum for discussion and a place for reflection.
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