The heart of the Nass River was unveiled to all on the 11th anniversary of the Nisga’a Treaty signing.
Hundreds gathered in Laxgalts’ap in the Nass Valley to commemorate the opening day of the nation’s new museum on Nisga’a Day, May 11th.
More than 300 Nisga’a artifacts were returned to the Nisga’a from the Royal BC Museum and the federal Museum of Civilization last September, and can now be seen by the public in a world-class display.
Chief councillor of Laxgalts’ap village government Willard Martin said that it was unjust to remove the artifacts from the communities, and now the Nisga’a can celebrate the return of some of them.
Nisga’a Lisims Government president Mitchell Stevens said the museum is a treasury of Nisga’a art and culture.
“Through the hard work and the foresight of our elders and our leaders, these treasures have come home, to take root in the place of their creation, to inspire new generations with the grandeur of culture,” he said, explaining that the return of the items was a result of the Nisga’a final agreement.
“On behalf of the Nisga’a Nation, I thank our advising elders and Nisga’a negotiators,” he said. “The pride and joy we feel this day, made possible because of you.”
Nisga’a youth representative Simon Calder said the museum is a place for the Nisga’a to come together and teach the youth about Nisga’a culture.
“We need to embrace our culture. And there’s nothing better than this, right here, seeing our people together, happy, something historic,” he said.
“There’s no longer darkness above us, there’s nothing but light now.”
Before the public viewed the treasures inside the $14 million facility, Nisga’a clergy blessed the museum, elders conducted a naming ceremony, and the dedication plaque was unveiled. The museum is called Hli Goothl Wilp-Adokshl Nisga’a, meaning “The Heart of Nisga’a House Crests.”