History & Background 

The Gitga’at First Nation is one of 14 tribes of the Tsimshian Nation in northern British Columbia, Canada. The Nation has occupied the waters and lands around Txalgiuw (Hartley Bay) for millennia. Currently, approximately 150 Gitga’at members live in Hartley Bay with around 500 living in Prince Rupert. Other members reside in BC communities such as Terrace, Vancouver Island, and Vancouver, BC. 



The lands and waters of Hartley Bay are the political and ceremonial base of the Gitga’at Nation. Whether it’s forests, mountains, rivers, creeks, or the ocean, the Nation practices sustainable resource management in its territory.



GFN has a governance administration with an elected band council. 

The Nation derives its power from its customary structure which is based around the Sm’ooygyet (“Real person”). There are three clan or crest groups: Gispudwada, (Blackfish or Killerwhale), Laxsgiik (Eagle), and Ganhada (Raven). Gitga’at members enter these clan structures at birth, and are taught practices relating to clan identity throughout their lives.


Culture and Traditions 

The Nation’s culture is passed down through traditional practices. These include harvesting cedar bark and other plants, cutting and drying fish and seaweed, and through watching, listening, and participating with Elders.


Economic Development 

The Nation’s economic development arm is the Gitga’at Development Corporation (GDC). This entity is responsible for helping GFN to capitalize on any economic opportunities that will further the interests of the Gitga’at people. 

GDC has a number of projects in its portfolio including: Gitga’at Properties, Gitga’at Forest Resources, Gitga’at Marine Services LP, and the Gitga’at Group of Partners (a set of joint venture partnerships with companies in a variety of industries). 


Oceans and Lands 

The Nation operates a number of programmes to ensure the protection of both people and resources within Gitga’at territory. 



The Marine Emergency Response and Research Facility (MERRF) allows the Nation to conduct world-class research and monitoring programs, improve marine safety and response capabilities, and ensure there are continued opportunities for members to live and work in their home communities. 



The Gitga’at Oceans and Lands Department (GOLD) mandate is to manage, protect, and ensure the sustainable use of land and water resources within the Nation’s territory. 

The Nation supports a variety of initiatives to protect its cultural heritage including Indigenous-led environmental monitoring program (“the Gitga’at Guardians”), local eco-tourism economies, aquaculture, collaborative research with diverse academic communities, and a community newsletter (‘Amhaw Gitga’at’). 


Learn More About the GFN

The Gitk’a’ata welcome guests to contact the Nation’s administration with any further questions. You can also visit the GFN website to learn more.