Kitwanga Fort was designated a national historic site in 1971 on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. A plaque was erected in 1992. Kitwanga Fort National Historic Site (and the French form, lieu historique national du Fort-Kitwanga) are identified in "Canada's Geographical Names Approved in English and in French," published in August 1994 by the Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographical Names, August 1994. Name subsequently expanded to Kitwanga Fort National Historic Site of Canada (and Lieu historique national du Canada du Fort-Kitwanga). In March 2006, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recommended that the name of the designation be changed to Gitwangak Battle Hill National Historic Site of Canada (and Lieu historique national du Canada de la Colline-Battle Hill-des-Gitwangaks), at the request of the Gitwangak Band Council. The new name reflects the correct Gitksan spelling of the name of the First Nation who built the original fortress in the 18th century. Furthermore, the term "fort" implies a Western-style structure. "Battle Hill" is more appropriate because it reflects the name of the hill and conveys to the public a true sense of the site. (information supplied to Geographical Names Board of Canada by Parks Canada on behalf of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada)
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"Kitwanga Fort is a vivid expression of the culture of the Tsimshian people and their history. The site consists of "Ta'awdzep" or Battle Hill, a natural feature, on top of which are archaeological remains of fortified houses occupied during the historical period...." (excerpt from Parks Canada's National Historic Sites website, February 1996). Kitwanga Fort was destroyed in a fiery battle in the early 1800's. Situated on an important trade route, this fort and others built by the Gitwangak throughout their territory, incorporated a system of logs designed to roll on approaching enemies - a crucial defensive strategy in the battles that were waged to control fishing sites, protect trade routes and enhance the prestige of the clans. See NHS brochure for additional interpretive history.
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"Gitwangak Battle Hill National Historic Site of Canada (formerly known as Kitwanga Fort) is the remnants of a fortified village of the Gitwangak people, located on the Kitwanga River among the Hazelton and Buckley Mountain Ranges in central British Columbia. The designation refers to the large steep-sided mound, on which the fortified village was constructed and adjacent lands on which cultural resources directly connected to the occupation of the site have been identified. The "hill" in the name may be a constructed "mound" rather than a natural feature." (Parks Canada on behalf of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada)