BC Geographical Names

Name Details:

Name: Kitimat River
Feature TypeClick here for a list of
Feature Types.
River - Watercourse of variable size, which has tributaries and flows into a body of water or a larger watercourse
StatusClick here for an explanation of Status.: Official
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Flows S into Kitimat Arm at head of Douglas Channel, S of Terrace, Range 5 Coast Land District
Latitude-LongitudeClick here for an explanation of Position Type.: 54°00'39''N, 128°39'44''W at the approximate mouth of this feature.
DatumClick here for an explanation of Datum.: NAD83
NTS MapClick here for an explanation of NTS Map.: 103I/2
Related MapClick here for an explanation of Related Maps.: 103H/16
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Origin Notes and History:

Originally approved in the 1930 B.C. Gazetteer. Confirmed7 March 1933 on OBF 1420, 4 November 1948 on 103/NE, 2 June 1950 on 103I/7, 4 October 1951 on 103I, 5 March 1953on c.3743.
Source: Canadian Geographical Names Database, Ottawa
"Named for the aboriginal inhabitants of the river valley, the Gitamaat (from the Tsimshian term for them, 'people of the snow'). The Gitamaat descend from a legendary founder, Hantlhikwilas, who paddled north from Rivers Inlet 60 generations ago. No group had settled in the lower Kitimat River because of the belief that a monster lived at the mouth of the river. Hantlhikwilas dared to approache the river mouth and discovered that what appeared to be a monster head opening and closing his giant mouth was only an immense flock of gulls drawn by schools of oolichans that would arise in a cloud, circle and re-alight, looking like a giant mouth opening and closing. The band of migrants settled near the river mouth and multiplied." (information contributed February 2007 by anthropologist James V. (Jay) Powell, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia, Vancouver; consultant to Haisla Nation, 2000-present).
Source: included with note