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  Section title: Nisga'a
Graphical element:  Nisga’a men   Introduction
History
Daily Life
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References

Introduction

 
  The Little Nass River, British Columbia, 1899

On the northwest coast of British Columbia live a people whose land is one of the most beautiful in the world. They are the Nisga'a, and they reside in the Nass Valley of British Columbia. This valley was carved out 10,000 years ago by a river of ice flowing into the Pacific Ocean. Thousands of years later, a volcanic eruption changed the course of the river. Lava moving down the mountains created a lake, and out of this lake flows the present-day Nass River. All around, a vast forest blankets the coastal mountains. Deep fiords break up the coastline and create a long and complex shoreline. For thousands of years, the Nisga'a have lived in this rich and lovely environment, secure in their sturdy cedar houses and surrounded by an abundance of wildlife in the river, forest and sea.

 
Salmon Cove, Prince Rupert, British Columbia, 1818  

For the past 150 years, however, the Nisga'a have struggled to protect their rights to the Nass Valley. The first intruders were non-Aboriginal land surveyors and settlers. Later, the Nisga'a people began fighting for their land rights with the governments of British Columbia and Canada. As well, non-Aboriginal loggers, miners and fishers disagreed with the Nisga'a about who owns the Nass Valley. The dispute continues to this day. In recent years, the Nisga'a have settled some of their land claims with various levels of government.


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