NISGA'A ( ) are a FIRST NATIONS people occupying the valley of the NASS R in northwest BC. Their language is usually considered to be the northern usage of Nass-Gitksan, but for political reasons is sometimes referred to as a distinct idiom (see FIRST NATIONS LANGUAGES; TSIMSHIAN). When the first European explorers arrived at the mouth of the river in 1793 an estimated 8,000 people were living in the Nass Valley. Epidemic diseases reduced that number to less than 900, but since the 1920s the...

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