ANCIENT VILLAGES AND TOTEM POLES OF THE NISG̱A'A

G̱alts’abim Gitlax̱t’aamiks - Village of Gitlaxt’aamiks

Explore the Ancient Village of Gitlax̱t’aamiks - move the eagle cursor over each longhouse
and totem pole to see the Nisg̱a’a House and click to view further details of each totem pole.

G̱alts’abim Gitlax̱t’aamiks

Hli anhidihl Gitlax̱t’aamiks: “wil wanhl gat lax̱-t’aamiks.”Sit’aatkwshl g̱alts’ap tgun hliskwhl g̱oshl sg̱an̓ist, wil ksi-bax̱hl mihl ahl 1700’s.T an n̓ii-bax̱kwhl w̓ii ts’im-t’in ahl g̱agigeenihl Lisims ahl luu-sbayt Gitlax̱t’aamiks g̱anhl Gitwinksihlkw. Sim sityeexwdihl mihl hlaa g̱oshl sg̱an̓ist, wilaa bax̱hl Lisims. Ii g̱abiihl didawit ts’im-t’in, ligii two thousandima’a.

G̱abiihl k’alii-lugwit, dim jog̱at ahl Gitlax̱t’aamiks ahl ḵ̱’alii-Lisims, n̓idiithl k’ax̱ jog̱at ahl gilp’ilhl w̓ahlin- gixg̱alts’aphl n̓ii-bax̱gwihl mihl hlaa g̱oshl sg̱an̓ist. N̓ihl Lax̱-ksi-luux g̱anhl Lax̱-w̓ii lax̱-ḵ̱’ap. Siwatkws n̓idiit ahl Git’anwilks wil adigwil laax̱-lukwdiit, ii huxw sakskw diit tx̱aa n̓itkwshl gwooyimhl dim sisaakdiit gisi-Lisims.

G̱alaanhl wil mihl, ii want-g̱ahl limoot gwit ahl luu-sbayt n̓ihl Gitwinksihlkw g̱anhl Gitlax̱t’aamiks siwatgwit ahl Lax̱-wil miigunt [wil t’ahl miigunt] ii hlag̱a ts’uudiit ii wandiit ahl Gitwinksihlkw.Ii hlaa 1860hl g̱abiihl wanit ahl Lax̱-wil miigunt sayt hagwin-lukw n̓idiit ahl Gitlax̱t’aamiks.

N̓i wil sim hilthl g̱abiihl jogat ahl Gitlax̱t’aamiks, ii sim hilthl agu wilaa wildiit. M̓isḵ̱’a n̓ihl pdeeḵ̱hl wanit loot, ii sim hilthl sim huwilp g̱anhl pts’aan loot.

Hlaa w̓itkwhl lipleet, James B.McCullagh ahl 1883 ii sit’aama’ahl hli gadihl Gitlax̱t’aamikshl gwilks-at’itkwsdiit.Way n̓i wil kw’ootkwhl lip wilaa wilhl Nisg̱a’a.
1917 wil mooji m̓isḵ’a gwilks-at’itkwshl hli gadihl Gitlax̱t’aamiks ii hlag̱ats’uuhl gat ii lukwdiit ahl gisi-aks ahl sig̱alts’aphl g̱asimutkwsit ahl Ay̓ans siwatkwsit ahl sii y̓ans.
Yukwhl w̓ii t’isim x̱haykwshl gat ahl Gitlax̱t’aamiks ahl 1918, iit t’ip-ḵ̱’asḵ̱’otshl gathl g̱apts’aandiit. Hlag̱a ts’uudiit iit simihldiit, ii hlag̱ats’uut iit hooxdiit ahl say̓sihl wilp ahl g̱ahuwilpdiit.

Pts’aanim Nii-gwiloon, sim hlisgwit, ksax̱ n̓ihl ginaa-hitgwit yukwhl sim t’isim
x̱haykwshl gat 1918. Xbil̓ di gilp’il di tx̱alpx ̱hli g̱abiihl maḵsgwit hiig̱ooḵ̱.

Village of Gitlax̱t’aamiks

Gitlax̱t’aamiks means: “People on pools of water”. This village was established some time after the giant volcanic eruption of the late 1700s that buried the broad valley of the upper Nass between present-day New Aiyansh and Gitwinksihlkw. The eruption completely re-oriented the course of the Nass River and is believed to have killed approximately 2,000 people in the valley.

Those who eventually came to settle Gitlax̱t’aamiks on the north side of the Nass are believed to have once lived in one or both of the two ancient villages that were destroyed by the lava flow, Lax̱-ksi-luux and Lax̱-w̓ii-lax̱-ḵ̱’ap. These people were known as the Git’anwilks, or “People moving back and forth”, because they travelled back and forth to the oolichan camps on the lower Nass River each spring.

Following the eruption, it is believed that many of the survivors first settled at a place between Gitwinksihlkw and Gitlax̱t’aamiks called Lax-wil miigunt, meaning “On place of strawberries”. (It is said that some of them also settled at Gitwinksihlkw.) By 1860, the people of Lax̱-wil miigunt are believed to have completely migrated to the site of Gitlax̱t’aamiks.

This marked the period when Gitlax̱t’aamiks thrived with life and activity. All four tribes of the Nisg̱a’a were represented, and there were many longhouses and totem poles.

With the arrival of the missionary James B. McCullagh in 1883, the people of Gitlax̱t’aamiks slowly began to convert to Christianity and traditional Nisg̱a’a cultural practices diminished. By 1917, most of the population of Gitlax̱t’aamiks had become Christianized and many people had moved a short distance downriver to the new missionary village of Aiy̓ans, meaning “Early leaves”.

During a Christian revival at Gitlax̱t’aamiks in 1918, most of the families were persuaded to cut down their totem poles and destroy them. Some of the poles were burned and others were cut into short lengths and used as foundation posts for “modern” houses.

Three Persons Along is one of only three complete poles that were saved from destruction during the revival of 1918, from approximately 24 poles that existed at the time.