"We lived there for the food": Archaeologies of Dalk Gyilakyaw, home of the Gitsm'geelm (Kitsumkalum) Tsimshian


The Gitsm’geelm are a galts’ap (community) of the Tsimshian Nation. Today, Kitsumkalum is located at the confluence of the Kalum and Skeena Rivers. There are a number of documented archaeology sites in the core territorial lands, down the Skeena River to the coast where Gitsm’geelm people hold various types of resource use sites. Dałk Gyilakyaw (Robin Town), a large terraced village site replete with evidence of maintained gardens, orchards and distinct archaeological features, is located at the canyon on the Kalum River. A variety of external influences led to the eventual abandonment of Dałk Gyilakyaw in the 1870s. Population loss and the introduction of a Western market economy, exacerbated by a devastating fire, led most of the community to move down the Skeena River to (primarily) Port Essington to engage in the fishing industry. Although a rich ethnographic history of the social and cultural importance of Dałk Gyilakyaw to the Gitsm’geelm remains, little knowledge has been produced by the archaeology conducted since the 1940s. This paper reviews the range and scope of the more "classic" archaeological work conducted at this site from the mid-twentieth century, and will discuss the present "non-invasive" archaeology overseen by the community today.

Cite this Record

"We lived there for the food": Archaeologies of Dalk Gyilakyaw, home of the Gitsm'geelm (Kitsumkalum) Tsimshian. Brenda Guernsey, Chelsey Geralda Armstrong. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430229)


Geographic Keywords
North America-Canada

Spatial Coverage

min long: -142.471; min lat: 42.033 ; max long: -47.725; max lat: 74.402 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17673