The ancestral lands of the Nisg̱a’a are in and around the Nass River Valley. In this historic hall, the Nisg̱a’a, Gitxsan and Tsimshian people are referred to together as “Tsimshian.” In the past, anthropologists categorized these three distinct nations as one people because they speak related languages.

Population: 6901 (as of 2013)  Language: Nisga'a, a language in the Tsimshianic language family


Check out more apps from the American Museum of Natural History
View larger

Professor Irene Seguin prepares materials for an advanced Nisg̱a’a language composition class.

Image credit: K. Kervel, WWNI. Audio: Wilp Wilx̱o'oskwhl Nisg̱a’a Institute. Voices: Dr. Jacob McKay, Garth Munroe, Stirling Tait

Language learning is a lifelong journey in Nisg̱a’a communities, taught to babies and preschoolers in Head Start Programs, children in local schools, and adults at the Nisg̱a’a university-college, Wilp Wilx̱o'oskwhl Nisg̱a'a Institute. The language has an impressive number of fluent speakers—60 alone in the village of Gitwinksihlkw, a center of Nisg̱a'a teaching and learning.

N̓it, aam wilaa wilina? (Hello, how are you doing?)
Aam wilaa wiliy̓. (I am doing fine.)


Savior Fish




Check out more apps from the American Museum of Natural History
View larger


Aiyansh, British Columbia

The beaver, called ts'imilx in the Nisg̱a’a language, is also a crest, or symbol, of certain Nisg̱a’a families. In 2001, the Nisg̱a’a government voted to incorporate the beaver into its national flag as a representation of Nisg̱a’a industriousness, skill and perseverance.

Image credit: S. J. Krasemann/All Canada Photos/AGE Fotostock. Audio: Wilp Wilx̱o'oskwhl Nisg̱a'a Institute. Voice: Wilma Moore

Ts’imilx/Jabihl ts'imilxhl g̱ooda-ts'imilx. (Beaver/Beavers build beaver lodges.)


In Nisg̱a’a Territory







Image credit for lead photo: D. Nieberding