Kitasoo / Xai’xais Nation

Klemtu

Kitasoo/Xai'xais Cultural Dancing. Photo by Cael Cook, courtesy of Spirit Bear Lodge
Kitasoo/Xai'xais Cultural Dancing. Photo by Cael Cook, courtesy of Spirit Bear Lodge
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The Kitasoo / Xai’xias Nation’s main community is located in Klemtu on BC’s Central Coast

Kitasoo / Xai’xais Nation

The Kitasoo, members of the Tsimshian group of nations, and the Xai’xais share their main community in Klemtu. Klemtu is located on Swindle Island on British Columbia’s Inside Passage and its name means “blocked passage.”

The Kitasoo and Xai’xais people settled in Klemtu thousands of years ago due to the abundance of sea kelp in the bay. Initially the location provided a camping site on trade routes but later developed in to a trading post for steamships travelling the Inside Passage.

Kitasoo / Xai'xais community in Klemtu and Fiordland Conservancy. Photo by Brodie Guy
Kitasoo / Xai’xais community in Klemtu and Fiordland Conservancy. Photo by Brodie Guy

The Kitasoo / Xai’xais people have traditionally relied on the natural resources their territory provides and they continue to manage these resources in a sustainable way to ensure the abundance of forests, fish and wildlife will be there for future generations.

The Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation banned trophy hunting within their territory in 2012. The Nation has successfully developed Spirit Bear Lodge, an ecotourism bear-viewing business; Spirit Bear Research Foundation, a research organization that informs the management decisions of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais; and a Guardian Watchmen Program, to patrol and protect the Nation’s territory.

Kitasoo Xai'xais Guardian Watchmen. Photo by Meaghan Hume
Kitasoo Xai’xais Guardian Watchmen. Photo by Meaghan Hume

The Nation uses the ecotourism, research and guardian programs to engage the youth of the community, creating informed and passionate leaders of the future. The Kitasoo/Xai’xais has positively merged the conservation of their territory with sustainable economic development, supporting and improving the community well-being of the Nation’s members.

The Spirit Bear is a culturally important animal to the Kitasoo / Xai’xais. The Kitasoo / Xai’xais’s territory contains the largest protected area of Spirit Bear habitat known as the “Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy.”

A Kitasoo / Xai’xais legend tells us Raven made one in every ten black bears white to remind the people of a time when glaciers covered the world and to be thankful for the lush and bountiful land of today.

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