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The lands and waters that surround the Nisga'a are among the richest food sources in the world. There are many different kinds of fish and animals that humans can use. The most important fish for the Nisga'a are the salmon and the eulachon (also called smelt). The salmon is used for food, while the eulachon has long had another use. People collected the oil of this tiny fish to use in their lamps. Eulachon are also called candlefish: the dried fish will stay alight and burn like a candle. Long ago, other Aboriginal nations on the northwest coast of North America traded with the Nisga'a for this important oil. Today, few people use eulachon oil to light their homes, but the oil is still in demand.
Nisga'a enjoy many other fruits of the sea, as they have for centuries. There are halibut, herring, shrimp, crab, kelp, mussels, and clams to take from the water. Salmon remains vitally important to the Nisga'a. And just as the sea has provided a rich diet for centuries, the forests and mountains, too, support abundant animals: bears, beaver, mink, mountain goats, wolves and moose.
Although the Nisga'a used the fur of animals for clothing, they also had weatherproof cedar bark clothing to wear during the heavy rain and in the winter. The women wove the waterproof cloaks and aprons from strips of aromatic cedar bark. They also wove spruce roots and cedar fibres into waterproof hats. Today, the Nisga'a dress like most other North Americans. However, during their ceremonies, they still put on their traditional clothing.