The Nisga'a (nisqaʔa), often formerly spelled Nishga and spelled in the Nisga'a language as Nisg̱a'a, are an Indigenous nation or First Nation in Canada. They live in the Nass River valley of northwestern British Columbia. Their name comes from a combination of two Nisga’a words: N̓isḵ’-top lip & Tl’aḵ’-bottom lip. This term was used because Ḵ’alii-aksim Lisims (Nass River Valley) is so bountiful that many living creatures come to it to feed. The Nisg̱a’a saw that every living creature used it’s N̓isḵ’ & Tl’aḵ’ to eat, therefore... Nisg̱a’a!
Nisg̱a'a society is organized into four clans: G̱anada (Raven), Gisḵ’aast (Killer Whale), Lax̱gibuu (Wolf), and Lax̱sgiik (Eagle).
The Nisg̱a'a people number about 6,000. In British Columbia the Nisg̱a'a Nation is represented by four Villages and 3 urban societies. These are:
Approximately 2,500 live in the Nass Valley (within the 4 villages) and another 3,500 Nisg̱a'a live elsewhere in Canada, and around the world (predominantly within the 3 urban societies).
On May 11
, a land-claim was settled between the Nisg̱a'a, the government of British Columbia
, and the Government of Canada
. As part of the settlement in the Nass River valley nearly 2,000 square kilometres of land was officially recognized as Nisg̱a'a, and a 300,000 cubic decameter water reservation was also created. The Bear Glacier Provincial Park
was also created as a result of this agreement. The land-claim's settlement was the first formal treaty signed by a First Nation
in British Columbia
since the Douglas Treaties
The Tseax Cone situated in a valley above and east of the Tseax River
was the source for an eruption during the 18th century that killed approximately 2,000 Nisga'a people from poisonous volcanic gases
- Barbeau, Marius (1950) Totem Poles. 2 vols. (Anthropology Series 30, National Museum of Canada Bulletin 119.) Ottawa: National Museum of Canada.
- Boas, Franz, Tsimshian Texts (Nass River Dialect), 1902
- Boas, Franz, Tsimshian Texts (New Series), [1912
- Boston, Thomas (ed.) (1996) From Time before Memory. New Aiyansh, B.C.: School District No. 92 (Nisga’a).
- Bryant, Elvira C. (1996) Up Your Nass. Church of Religious Research.
- Collison, W. H. (1915) In the Wake of the War Canoe: A Stirring Record of Forty Years' Successful Labour, Peril and Adventure amongst the Savage Indian Tribes of the Pacific Coast, and the Piratical Head-Hunting Haida of the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia. Toronto: Musson Book Company. Reprinted by Sono Nis Press, Victoria, B.C. (ed. by Charles Lillard), 1981.
- Dean, Jonathan R. (1993) "The 1811 Nass River Incident: Images of First Conflict on the Intercultural Frontier." Canadian Journal of Native Studies, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 83-103.
- "Fur Trader, A" (Peter Skene Ogden) (1933) Traits of American Indian Life and Character. San Francisco: Grabhorn Press. Reprinted, Dover Publications, 1995. (Ch. 4 is the earliest known description of a Nisga'a feast.)
- McNeary, Stephen A. (1976) Where Fire Came Down: Social and Economic Life of the Niska. Ph.D. dissertation, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Penn.
- Patterson, E. Palmer, II (1982) Mission on the Nass: The Evangelization of the Nishga (1860-1890). Waterloo, Ontario: Eulachon Press.
- Raunet, Daniel (1996) Without Surrender, without Consent: A History of the Nisga’a Land Claims. Revised ed. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre.
- Rose, Alex (2000) Spirit Dance at Meziadin: Chief Joseph Gosnell and the Nisga'a Treaty. Madeira Park, B.C.: Harbour Publishing.
- Roth, Christopher F. (2002) "Without Treaty, without Conquest: Indigenous Sovereignty in Post-Delgamuukw British Columbia." Wicazo Sa Review, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 143-165.
- Sapir, Edward (1915) "A Sketch of the Social Organization of the Nass River Indians." Anthropological Series, no. 7. Geological Survey, Museum Bulletin, no. 19. Ottawa: Government Printing Office. (Online version at the Internet Archive)
- Sterritt, Neil J., et al. (1998) Tribal Boundaries in the Nass Watershed. Vancouver: U.B.C. Press.
- Nisg̱a'a Lisims Government
- Nisga'a Final Agreement documents
- School District 92 (Nisga'a)
- The Terrace Nisga’a Society
- Gitmax̱mak'ay Nisga'a Prince Rupert/Port Edward Society
- The Nisga'a Ts'amiks Society
- Nisa'a Names, Nisg̱a'a Lands (tribal map)
- My World Of The Nis}a'a Nation
- Ging̱olx website
- Nisga'a People of the Rainbow
- Laxgalts'ap Homepage
- Gitwinksihlkw Homepage
- Gitlankdamix/New Aiyansh Homepage
- Map of Nisga'a Lands (northern portion)
- Map of Nisga'a Lands (southern/core portion)