People of the Robin

McDonald, James Andrew.

People of the Robin: the Tsimshian of Kitsumkalum: a resource book for the Kitsumkalum Education Committee and the Coast Mountain School District 82 (Terrace) / by James Andrew McDonald; with the assistance of the First Nations Education Centre, Coast Mountain School District. -- Edmonton: CCI Press, 2003. (Solstice series; no. 1) Co-published by Alberta ACADRE Network. ISBN 1-896445-28-4

The contemporary community of Kitsumkalum draws on its ancient Tsimshian culture for values. Their culture is not a dead archive of traditions and customs frozen in the past. This book emphasizes the connection between Kitsumkalum’s Tsimshian heritage and the territory which nurtures that heritage. The anthropology underlying the book promotes a Tsimshian sociology as understood by the people in Kitsumkalum. The connection between the culture and the land is the central principle that has sustained the Kitsumkalum people since time immemorial. The purpose of this book is to give the reader an understanding of this important aspect of Tsimshian life Knowing more about Kitsumkalum will enrich the lives of all Canadians with a fuller understanding of a heritage that is an integral part of the national cultural fabric. The material written in this book will be an important resource for the Kitsumkalum community, students, and the general public.

Dianne Collins, former Chief Councillor of Kitsumkalum, stated: “It’s important for us to rejoice in the fact that we still feast, that we still have dance groups, that we still have Hereditary Chiefs to uphold, and that we still have our language and that it’s growing stronger and being passed on to the younger ones. We can celebrate that we still have our house groups and Sm’algyax names, the names of our people. We still remember the Sm’algyax names for our landmarks. These are things well worth maintaining and I see us continuing to use them in the future. This is very positive for our people. It gives us a sense of self recognition, history and pride.

“Bringing forward our culture is a good and a heavy responsibility. This book will contribute to our heritage. It was written with the community, with a lot of community input and direction. Our culture guided the work. The families were consulted and the elders and families participated in the project at all stages. They set the direction, participated in the research, and reviewed the writing. Over the last 2 years, everyone had a chance to have their say, with the result that we can present this book as a community project that reflects the community’s own story.”