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Kitkatla

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The Kitkatla are one of the 14 bands of the Tsimshian nation of the Canadian province of British Columbia, and inhabit a village, also called Kitkatla (sometimes called Laxklan), on Dolphin Island, a small island just by Porcher Island off the coast of northern B.C. Because of this they have sometimes been called Porcher Island Indians. They were also, in the early contact period, called the Sebassa tribe, for their paramount chief at the time, Ts'ibasaa. The name Kitkatla derives from the Tsimshian name Gitkxaała, from git- (people of) and kxaała (open sea), since they are the farthest from the mainland of the Tsimshian tribes. The Kitkatla are reputed to be the first Tsimshians to encounter (formally anyway) Europeans and the first to use guns. Stories recording this encounter tell of the acquisition of the hereditary name He'l by the Gispwudwada (Blackfish or Killerwhale clan) House (extended matrilineal family) of Ts'ibasaa, from an English ship's captain named Hale.

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