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First Nations

The Nisga’a (pronounced Nis-gah) are of the First Nations of Canada. They live in the Nass River valley of northwestern British Columbia.

Nisga’a society is organized into four clans: Ganada (Raven), Gisk’aast (Killer Whale), Laxgibuu (Wolf), and Laxsgiik (Eagle).

The Nisga’a people number about 6,000. In British Columbia the Nisga’a Nation is made up of about 2,500 people, consisting of four groups: the Gitlakdamix Band Council, of New Aiyansh; the Gitwinksihlkw First Nation, of Gitwinksihlkw; the Gingolx First Nation, of Kincolith; and the Lakalzap First Nation, of Greenville. Additionally another 3,500 Nisga’a live elsewhere in Canada, and around the world. Those Nisga’a people that do not reside in one of the four Nisga’a Villages on Nisga’a Lands are represented in one of the three Urban Locals. There are three Urban Locals and they are found in Terrace, Prince Rupert, and Vancouver, BC. The UL are structured as societies and provide services to Nisga’a Citizens in the regions they are found.

On April 13, 2000, a land-claim was settled between the Nisga’a Nation, 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 Nisga’a, and as well a 300,000 cubic decameter water reservation was created. The Bear Glacier Provincial Park was also created a result of this agreement. The land-claim’s settlement was the first formal treaty between a First Nation and the Province of British Columbia in modern times.