the gently rolling hill in the midst of Tse-kya today and
looking west into the jagged coast mountains with the haughty
Rocher Deboule peaks looming to the left, it may be easy
to forget that the village is named after, and owes its
existence to, a rock in the river one thousand metres below.
It might be even harder to know this since, improbably,
the great rock is no longer here, having been purposely
removed by others almost thirty years before.
As a person stands on the hill it is easy
to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the place, arguably one
of the most majestic locations in the region. The
location though is more significant for the events which
have happened here and for the people who have chosen to
make it their home. This book tells the story of the
strong and persistent people who live at Tse-Kya.
The village name of Tse-kya
signifies base of rock in the Wet'suwet'en language.
It has also been call Hagwilget as its is known in Gitksan,
meaning place of the quiet people. Tse-kya is located
in central British Columbia about two hundred miles or three
hundred twenty five kilometers inland from the coast.
It and the area to the east and south comprise the territories
of the Wet'suwet'en.
The location stands at the transition between
the mild and wet coastal climate of the Skeena River valley
and the drier, more extreme interior. The red cedar
and hemlock which blanket the coastal mountains give way
here to pine and spruce on the northern slopes and popular
and willow on the southern.
The people who live in this
countryside call themselves Wet'suwet'en, or people of the
Wa Dzun Kwuh River. Their territories reach far to
the south including Ootsa Lake, to the east to parts of
Francois Lake, and to the Telkwa Pass and the headwaters
of the Zymoetz River, as well as the basin of the Bulkley
The countryside through which the people
traditionally journeyed when not at Tse-kya is mostly a
great plateau, a country of gentle hills studded with lakes
and radiant meadows of wild roses and waving peavine.
The lakes hold an abundance of fish-trout and whitefish-and
in the friendly forests roam deer, black bear and caribou.
Strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries, blueberries,
cranberries saskatoon's and soapberries all grow wild in
abundance, aided in their growth in the past by the periodic
burning of the patches by the people.