Culture & Language

Culture & Language Department

Gitxaała Culture and Language department supports the learning and passing on of the Sm’algyax language and Gitxaała arts, cultural knowledge, and practices.

Ongoing community programs include language lessons, cultural workshops, and the creation of regalia. The department also facilitates recording of Sm’algyax and development of language curriculum and the repatriation of Gitxaała belongings and historical materials.

Language Coordinator: Wilgoosgm ‘neexł Zelda Tolmie-Faithful

Coordinates language and cultural programs and Elder consultation.

Recording and Documentation Coordinator

Coordinates language recording, community-based research.

Collections Curator: Val Masters

Coordinates archive development and digital repatriation projects and manages physical collections.

Contract Archivist: Simone Bowes

Supports archive development and digital repatriation.

Heritage Research Manager: Caroline Butler

Facilitates repatriation initiative, supports program management and strategic planning.

Advisors and Partners:

The Gitxaała Language Authority provide ongoing guidance on Sm’algyax resource creation:
Annabelle Hill, Margaret Hill, Jeanette Moody, Rita Robinson, Ernie Bolton, Mathew Hill

Translation experts: Doug Brown, Beatrice Robinson

The Gitxaała Hereditary Table provides policy direction and guidance on language and culture initiatives.
hagwil hayetsk Dr. Charles Menzies is a Gitxaala citizen and professor of Anthropology at UBC. He conducts collaborative provides expert advice to the Nation

Gamaats Consultants provides consulting services for Indigenous Growth, Cultural Education and Indigenous Language Revitalization.
‘Wii Goot Colleen Austin supports the Gitxaala language program through curriculum development.

Kwusen Research & Media is a digital, research and media production company working exclusively for Indigenous communities and organizations.
Kwusen provides and maintains Gitxaała’s Community KnowledgeKeeper (CKK), an online mapping database containing hundreds of community videos, photos, interview transcripts and mapped land use sites.

Dr. Linda Mattson is cultural anthropologist and has provided archival research expertise to the Nation on numerous initiatives.

Jennifer Rashleigh is an independent videographer who has worked with the Nation for two decades.

Sm’algyax Resources

Current Projects

Sm’algyax Resource Development

Through a First Peoples’ Cultural Council “Pathways to Language Vitality” grant, the community language handbook will be expanded, and other resources created.

Sm’algyax Recording and Digitization

A “Language and Technology Grant” from FPCC is funding the creation of a Gitxaała First Voices website (link required), and a community language archive. We are locating and digitizing all existing language resources including a historical dictionary from the 1881, Sm’algyax narratives from 1916, and audio recordings from the 1960 and 1970s.

Repatriation Initiative

A Museum Assistance Program grant from Heritage Canada supports community-based research and travel to museums to promote the return of Gitxaała belongings.

Virtual Museum and Repatriation Database

A Museum Assistance Program grant from Heritage Canada is helping the Nation to create a repatriation database to support research on cultural belongings held in external museums. A virtual museum will celebrate all the Gitxaała objects held in community collections and those held in museums throughout the world, awaiting physical return.

Our Virtual Museum is now live! Visit to see more.

Regalia Project

A grant from the First Nations Wellbeing Fund supports ongoing regalia workshops in the village and in Prince Rupert.