Kitamaat Village is located at the head of Douglas Channel on the North Coast of British Columbia. Today, the Haisla people and the Haisla Nation are centered around Kitamaat Village which is located approximately 10 km south of Kitimat, British Columbia.
"The Haisla, meaning 'dwellers downriver', have occupied lands for over 9000 years." - Haisla Nation. "The word 'Kitamaat' comes from the Tsimshian people, who originate from the Prince Rupert and Metlakatla areas. While 'Kitamaat' means ‘people of the snow’ in Tsimshian, the Haisla name for Kitamaat Village is 'Tsee-Motsa', meaning 'Snag Beach.'" - Haisla Nation
The Kitamaat Village Community Observatory is located at the Haisla Public Works Waste Treatment compound along the waterfront in the village. This community observatory is equipped with a shore station and underwater instruments. The shore station includes a weather station and shore camera which are situated within the compound on a stationary shipping container. The shore station is cabled to underwater instruments that track and record local water quality parameters, underwater sounds of marine mammals and vessels, and livestream video from an underwater camera. In addition, this location is equipped with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) antenna to track large vessels in the region.
"Living and working on the water has always been important to the Haisla, and that remains so today. The Haisla people have lived off the land and water resources of the Douglas Channel and our traditional territory for hundreds of years, and protection of those resources for future generations is a strong commitment by every Haisla member. Our territory’s resources have sustained us for generations, providing us with food, shelter, and livelihood. We have worked hard to harvest food, build our villages, and develop the resources we need to survive. The land is connected to our past, our culture, and now, our future." - Haisla Nation
The Kitimat region is witnessing a substantial increase in industrial development with the potential for additional energy export ports. This will bring new economic opportunities and potential impacts to the local environment in and around Kitimat, including Kitamaat Village and Douglas Channel. Before new waterfront development begins, and potentially brings increases in vessel traffic, it is important to have a baseline of the local marine environment. The publicly available scientific data from ONC observatories will contribute to the assessment of any long term, cumulative, or accident-related impacts.