Ksan

Ksan is a reconstructed Gitksan (Tsimshian) Aboriginal village located at the junction of the Skeena and Bulkley rivers in Hazelton, BC.

Ksan Village
A reconstructed Gitksan village located at the junction of the Skeena and Bulkley rivers in Hazelton, BC, where native villages have stood for thousands of years (courtesy Masterfile).

Ksan is a reconstructed Gitksan (Tsimshian) Aboriginal village located at the junction of the Skeena and Bulkley rivers in Hazelton, BC, where Aboriginal villages have stood for thousands of years. Ksan, the Gitksan name for the Skeena River ("River of Mists"), was founded as a result of a joint project by Gitskan and non-Aboriginal people to help solve the area's social and economic problems by promoting a better understanding of local Aboriginal culture and reviving its artistic traditions. In 1958 the Hazelton Library Association raised $10 000 and constructed the Skeena Treasure House for exhibition of ceremonial regalia on loan from many Gitksan chiefs in the area. Following the decision of the volunteer planning committee to build a replica of an Aboriginal village of the early 1800s, construction began in 1968, with the combined financial help of the Ksan Association and the provincial and federal governments. Ksan was officially opened 12 August 1970. Buildings, modelled on communal houses with painted fronts, include a carving school and workshop, a shop for sales of carvings and Gitksan and Carrier Aboriginal crafts, and a museum where the regalia of chiefs are housed and displayed until needed at ceremonial feasts (see Potlatch). A 19th-century Wolf Crest House prepared for a feast and a prehistoric Frog Crest house with displays depict traditional activities.

Some Ksan buildings are open year-round, and tours and dance performances are scheduled during the summer. In Gitksan villages near Ksan, visitors can see some of the oldest Totem Poles and learn more about the local history.

See also Northwest Coast Aboriginal Art.


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