Namgis First Nation

The ‘Namgis village of Yalis is a large community located on Cormorant Island though the original village site is Xwalkw at Gwani (Nimpkish River). Surrounded by water, and providing a wealth of naturally purified drinking water, is the home of the ‘Namgis Nation. The mountain ranges and the water’s crystal surface provide a spectacular view. ‘Namgis has the largest population among our member bands: 1,498 people, 800 of whom live on reserve.

‘Namgis First Nation Creation and Origin Story:

When the Transformer (or Creator), Kaniki’lakw, traveled around the world, he eventually returned to the place where Gwa’nalalis lived. In an earlier encounter, the Transformer had beaten Gwa’nalalis, who was ready for his return. Kaniki’lakw asked, “Would you like to become a cedar tree?”

Gwa’nalalis replied, “No, cedar trees, when struck by lightening, split and fall. then they rot away for as long the days dawn in the world.”

Kaniki’lakw asked again, “Would you like to become a mountain?”

“No,” Gwa’nalalis answered, “For mountains have slides and crumble away for as long as the days dawn in the world.”

The Transformer asked a third question. “Would you like to become a large boulder?”

Again, Gwa’nalalis answered, “No, Do not let me become a boulder, for I may crack in half and crumble away for as long as the days dawn in the world.”

Finally, Kaniki’lakw asked, “Would you like to become a river?” “Yes, let me become a river that I may flow for as long as the days shall dawn in the world,” Gwa’nalalis replied.

Putting his hand on Gwa’nalalis’ forehead and pushing him down prone, Kaniki’lakw said, “There, friend, you will be a river and many kinds of salmon will come to you to provide food for your descendants for as long as the days shall dawn in the world.”

And so, the man Gwa’nalalis became the river, Gwa’ni.

As told by :

Pal’nakwala Wa’kas (Dan Cranmer) 1939

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Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council