RESOURCE USE


Each House Group had specific territories for harvesting resources. As well, they share communal gathering places such as salmon rivers at Lax Galtsap (Old Town) and seaweed sources near Kiel, the spring camp.

The Gitga’at made use of a wide variety of resources. These included seaweed and plants (such as Devil’s Club, Licorice Fern Root, and a variety of berries), marine resources (salmon, halibut, octopus, herring, cod, abalone, crab, clams, mussels, and sea cucumbers), birds (such as Canada geese), and mammals (including seals, sea lions, bears, deer, moose and mountain goats).

Several resources in particular stand out as mainstays of Gitga’at culture and way of life. These are salmon, halibut and cedar. Salmon continues to be the mainstay of the Gitga’at diet, as it is easily dried and stored for year round provisions.

Cedar is an extremely important resource that supported communities all along British Columbia’s coast and continues to shape the Gitga’at way of life. Cedar, which is rot and insect resistant and easy to carve and shape (using steam), is used to construct longhouses, canoes, storage containers, tools, as well as for carving totem poles and other beautiful pieces of art.

Food, clothing, art, and other riches continue to be shared at feasts, which are an important part of Gitga’at society. At feasts, House Groups share the bounty of their resources and reaffirm their connection with their lands in the presence of invited guests. The feasting system is very complex, combining governance and laws with social, cultural and spiritual values.

   
 
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