'Ksan Celebrations

'Ksan Celebrations

Friday evenings in July and August
Dances and accompanying songs are performed by the 'Ksan, or Gitxsan, Indians in a longhouse in the Indian Village in Hazelton, British Columbia, Canada. They are generally a celebration of the important things of life, such as breathing and being at one with the cosmos.
The dances are said to go back to pre-history; they were revived in 1958, and the 'Ksan dancers have since performed in New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Kansas City, Missouri, and even Australia.
Box-shaped skin drums provide the beat for the dances. Songs, besides being about cosmic events, are sometimes songs of marriage, songs of divorce, or what are known as "happy heart songs" about almost anything. Performers must be Git 'Ksan, meaning "People of the 'Ksan" (named after the nearby Skeena River).
Because the homeland of the Git 'Ksan is far inland, it was overlooked by the Spaniards and Russians who explored the coast in the 1700s, and fur traders didn't stay here because the climate is too humid for good fur. As a result, the 'Ksan culture has been maintained without outside influences.
CONTACTS:
Ksan Historical Village and Museum
P.O. Box 326
Hazelton, BC V0J 1Y0 Canada
250-842-5544; fax: 250-842-6533
www.ksan.org