Histories, Territories and Laws of the Kitwancool
By the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs, edited and with an introduction by Wilson Duff, translated by Constance Cox
Second edition, with a new foreword by the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs
A new edition of the groundbreaking 1959 publication created in collaboration with the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs.
This beautiful new edition of the histories and laws of the Gitanyow (literally “people of the small/narrow place,” once called the Kitwancool in settler accounts), as recounted to museum curator Wilson Duff in 1959, includes a new foreword by Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs while preserving the original text.
Until the mid-twentieth century, the village of Kitwancool (now Gitanyow) was only accessible to outsiders by trail. This inaccessibility of territory protected a deeply independent spirit and unique legal system, recorded here as part of an agreement that allowed for the removal of Gitanyow totem poles to the Royal BC Museum for preservation. The complete histories of the Gitanyow, told in their own words, were also translated and recorded here as part of the same agreement.
This publication not only captures the histories, territories and laws of the Gitanyow, but also a significant moment in time for settler-Indigenous relations, and the origin story for totem poles still standing at the Royal BC Museum today.
Histories, Territories and Laws of the Kitwancool is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand Gitanyow society and belief.