Skeena River

Feature Type:River - Watercourse of variable size, which has tributaries and flows into a body of water or a larger watercourse.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Flows SW into Chatham Sound just S of Prince Rupert, Range 5 Coast Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 54°08'15''N, 130°05'40''W at the approximate mouth of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 103J/1
Related Maps:
103I/10 103I/16 103I/3 103I/4
103I/6 103I/7 103I/9 103J/1
103P/1 104A/16 104H/1 104H/2
93M/12 93M/13 93M/4 93M/5
94D/12 94D/13 94D/4 94D/5
94D/6

Origin Notes and History:

Skeena River adopted in the 10th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 30 June 1911.

Source: BC place name cards, files, correspondence and/or research by BC Chief Geographer/Geographical Names Office.

Extent: 325 miles. Entered at a line drawn from Gust Point to Clara Point to Hanmer Point. (June 1971 advice from Canadian Hydrographic Service; chart 3713, file H.1.27) Further description of the river from a 1937 topographic survey, on file P.2.37.

Source: BC place name cards, files, correspondence and/or research by BC Chief Geographer/Geographical Names Office.

"....christened Ayton's River, and was so-called by Capt. Duncan who was in charge of the trading schooner Princess Royal in 1788... The name did not stick however, for we find no further reference to it. For a short period it was also known as Simpson's or Babine River, and is so recorded on Arrowsmith's Map of the Province of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, published in 1862. However, on Anderson's Map of British Columbia in 1867, it appears under its present name." (The Skeena, River of Destiny, by R.Geddes Large; Mitchell Press, Vancouver; 1957.)

Source: included with note

"Skeena...is almost certainly derived from Ksian or 'Kushian, a place on the river. Indians trading at Fort Simpson in 1834 frequently spoke of the similarity of this word to Kit-ih-shian, the general name of the tribes on the river." (p.114B)

Source: Tolmie, W.F. & Dawson, G.M; Comparative Vocabularies of the Indian Tribes of British Columbia; Geological & Natural History Survey of Canada, 1884

"...[Skeena]... is an adaption of "K'shian," the Tsimpsean name for the river, meaning a "divide." (advice to the author from William Ridley, first Bishop of Caledonia, who served on the north coast 1879-1905). The Skeena was known to the early traders, circa 1787, as Ayton's River and is mentioned under this name in a long public letter from Captain Charles Duncan, 17 January 1791. (Duncan, in the sloop Princess Royal, was at anchor at the entrance of Ayton's River on June 1,1788."

Source: Walbran, John T; British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906: their origin and history; Ottawa, 1909 (republished for the Vancouver Public Library by J.J. Douglas Ltd, Vancouver, 1971)

Identified as Ikshean in Rev. Collinson's "In the Wake of the War Canoe" 1915, pp.288-289. From two Indian words: "iksh" meaning "out of," and "shean" or "shyen" meaning "the clouds " and indicating the clouds as the source of the river. Other sources clarify this as a reference to the clouds that perpetually shroud the mountains surrounding the headwaters channels.

Source: BC place name cards, files, correspondence and/or research by BC Chief Geographer/Geographical Names Office.