Haisla Indians

The Haisla (also Xa’islak’ala, X̄a’islakʼala, X̌àʼislakʼala, X̣aʼislak’ala, Xai:sla) are an indigenous people living at Kitamaat in the North Coast region of the Canadian province of British Columbia.

The name Haisla is derived from the Haisla word x̣àʼisla or x̣àʼisəla, meaning  ‘(those) living at the rivermouth, living downriver’. Along with the neighbouring Wuikinuxv and Heiltsuk people, they were incorrectly known in the past as the Northern Kwakiutl.

Kitamaat is a Tsimshian name, applied by European explorers who asked their Tsimshian guides for the name of the place; it means “people of the snows” or “place of the snows.” The Haisla name for Kitimaat is C’imo’ca (pronounced tsee-MOTE-sah) which means “snag beach.”

Haisla Language

Haisla is a North Wakashan language spoken by several hundred people.

Haisla is geographically the northernmost Wakashan language. Its nearest Wakashan neighbor is Oowekyala.

Haisla is related to the other North Wakashan languages, Wuikyala, Heiltsuk, and Kwak’wala.

The Haisla language consists of two dialects, sometimes defined as sublanguages – Kitamaat and Kitlope (also known as X̣enaksialak’ala).

Stolen totem pole returned after 80 years