Investing with Metlakatla First Nation



Region:  North Coast

Nation:  Tsimshian

This page contains some brief information about the Metlkakatla First Nation. You will find more detailed information in the "Our Community" section of our website.

The Metlakatla Band Council speaks the Sm'algyax language.

Metlakatla, British Columbia, is a small community that is one of the seven Tsimshian village communities in British Columbia, Canada. It is situated at Metlakatla Pass near Prince Rupert, British Columbia. It is the one Tsimshian village in Canada that is not associated with one particular tribe or set of tribes out of the Tsimshian nation's 14 constituent tribes.

The name Metlakatla derives from the Tsimshian Maaxłakxaała, which means "saltwater pass." Traditionally, this site has been the collective winter village of the "Nine Tribes" of the lower Skeena River, which since 1834 have been mostly based at Lax Kw'alaams, B.C. In 1862, the Anglican lay minister William Duncan established at Metlakatla a utopian Christian community, made up of about 350 Tsimshians from Lax Kw'alaams (a.k.a. Port Simpson) but with members of other Tsimshian tribes as well. Almost immediately thereafter, a smallpox epidemic tore through Lax Kw'alaams but left Metlakatla relatively unscathed, which Duncan interpreted for his followers as a sign of God's providence. Some of these followers, including Duncan's key convert, Paul Legaic, the most powerful Tsimshian chief, continued to divide their time between Lax Kw'alaams and Metlakatla and continued to divide their allegiances between Christianity and the traditional culture.

Other missionaries who served in Metlakatla have included Robert Tomlinson (briefly), as well as William Henry Collison, author of the North Coast missionary memoir In the Wake of the War Canoe.

By 1879 the population had grown to about 1,100.

Duncan's own style, in the image of which the new community was shaped, was a dissident, evangelical form of low-church Anglicanism that omitted the sacrament of communion. This, and his independent temperament, led to Duncan's expulsion from the Church of England's Church Missionary Society in 1881 and the creation of his own nondenominational "Independent Native Church."


Latitude: 54° 20' 25".133 N
Longitude: 130° 26' 20".378 S

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