The Nass Valley or Nisga’a Territory is located approximately 100km north of Terrace BC. It is an absolutely beautiful natural valley with abundant wildlife and incredible natural scenery. The core Nisga’a Lands make up 1992 square Kilometers of land encompassing the villages of Gitlaxdamix, Gitwinksihlkw, Laxgalts’ap and Gingolx. The Nisga’a have their own language, which like most other First Nations in British Columbia is considered an endangered language.
Approximately 2500 of the 5500 Nisga’a live in the four villages of Nass Valley. Most other Nisga’a live in the three urban centres; Terrace, Prince Rupert and Vancouver.
The Nisga’a Treaty, which took legal effect on April 13, 2000 establishes decision-making authority for the Nisga’a Lisims government and provides the Nisga’a with a significant measure of self-government that is consistent with the overall public interest and within Canada’s constitutional framework. The Nisga’a treaty is the first treaty or land claims agreement in Canada to expressly include self-government as an integral part of the Treaty.
The major industries in the Nass Valley are forestry, fishing and tourism. In the territory all mineral resources are, owned by the Nisga’a Nation. Nisga’a Lisims Government controls mineral royalties and permits.
Gitlaxdamix (New Aiyansh)
Gitlakdamix, or New Aiyansh is the administrative center of the Nisga’a Lisims Government, as well as the largest of the four modern day Nisga’a villages.
Located approximately 100 km north of Terrace, Gitlakdamix overlooks the Nisga’a Memorial lava beds, Canada’s youngest lavaflow. The lava plain is 10km long and 3km wide, and several self-guided trails allow visitors to explore this unique and beautiful landscape.
Village amenities include a gas station, convenience store and postal outlet. There is a recreation centre, the historic Gitlakdamix community hall and the Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a, a post-secondary institution affiliated with UNBC, Northwest Community College and Royal Roads University.
2006 Census population = 806
Distance from Terrace – approx 100 km
Gitwinksihlkw (Canyon City)
Gitwinksihlkw is Nisga’a for “Place of the Lizards”. This has reference to the legend that lizards once inhabited this part of the Nass Valley. According to the people of Gitwnksihlkw, before the volcano erupted there were large lizards at Gitwinksihlkw measuring approximately 4 feet long. Today, only small salamanders are found at Gitwinksihlkw however the Village uses the lizard as its representative logo.
Gitwinksihlkw is the oldest Nisga’a community, in that is has been inhabited longer than the other Nisga’a communities. Access to the community was by boat prior to the construction of the suspension bridge in 1968. The suspension bridge is still in tact and a wonderful tourist destination. A vehicle-access bridge was constructed in 1995 and can accommodate all tourist vehicles.
2006 Census population = 201
Distance from Terrace – approx 101 km
Laxgalts’ap means ‘village on village’ refers to Laxgalts’ap being built on the site of an older, abandoned village. It is thought that the first village on this site was built over 500 years ago.
Laxgalts’ap is located on the Nass River and is a major centre for Forestry operations in the Nisga’a territory.
Kincolith located on the concourse of the Nass river and the Pacific Ocean, is known as the Seafood Capital of the Nisga’a nation. Locals harvest salmon, halibut, oolichans, crab, clams & cockles as well as many other types of seafood.
The village of about 400 people boasts a new longhouse, decorated inside and out with art by local artists. There are community smokehouses, carving sheds several scenic trails and a breakwater and dock for fishing boats from Rosswood.
Crabfest, an annual music festival drawing folks from all over the north and featuring a wide range of aboriginal and non-aboriginal artists.