Our Culture

The Ancient Culture of the Kitasoo/Xai'xais People is Thousands of Years Old

Since the end of the last age, the ancestors of the residents of the coastal community of Klemtu have resided in what we now call British Columbia, Canada. Their culture and heritage has been formed through a direct connection with the land and the animals that share the rugged and epic landscapes of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Kitasoo Spirit Bear Dancer and sonTraditionally, the First Nations of coastal BC were part of distinct cultural groups based around highly organized social and political strutures. Within the larger ethno-cultural groups on BC's coast, there were tribes, which each of those having houses and clans, who traded, arranged marriages outside their own group, and celebrated with the potlatch ceremony.

Upon the arrival of the Europeans, the economic and cultural pressures began to erode the indigenous way of life. Links to the past, such as oral history through stories, song and dance were lost, when entire villages were wiped out by foreign disease, to which the First Nations had no immunity. The policies of the provincial and federal government of Canada also played a substantial role in the erosion of their culture, by banning cultural practices such as the potlatch and speaking native languages.

Rediscovering the  past while moving forward as a modern people into the future.
The Kitasoo/Xai'xais people have been taking control of their own destiny over the last 30 years and with this, rediscovering their culture that was almost lost forever to forces out of their control.

Through initiatives such as Rediscovery Camps for Klemtu youth, the digital recording of stories from the elders in the community and construction of cultural buildings, such as the Big House in Klemtu, which provides a space for songs and dances to be performed and cultural gatherings to take place. This re-connection to their culture is helping the Kitasoo/Xai'xais people link to the past while moving forward as a modern people into the future.