Currently the primary residence of the Haisla people is Kitamaat Village, which is located at the head of the Douglas Channel on British Columbia’s North Coast. For hundreds of years, however, the Haisla people have occupied many village sites throughout their Territory. Kitamaat Village is home to 700 Haisla people, but in total there are close to 1500 Haisla members.
The word “Kitamaat” comes from the Tsimshian people, who originate from the Prince Rupert and Metlakatla areas, also on British Columbia’s North Coast. “Kitamaat” means People of the Snow in Tsimshian. The Haisla name for Kitamaat Village is Tsee-Motsa, which means Snag Beach.
Haisla people have traditionally occupied and used just over 5000 sq. miles of land and waterways (approximately 4 million acres). The Canadian federal government set aside 1640 acres of land for the Haisla, as reserve land, starting in 1890. The land is currently held in trust by Canada for the Haisla people. The reserves that have been set aside for the Haisla Nation are very small and scattered throughout Haisla Traditional Territory. In 1905, the “Indian Agent” working for the Canadian federal government wrote about the reserves assigned to the Haisla Nation:
“The reserves of this band are all situated in the Douglas Channel and are the poorest reserves and of smaller dimensions according to the size of the band than any other in the agency”.