Click on the crest figure(s) of the totem pole to see a close up image of that crest figure(s) and its corresponding story
Hanging Across Pole Figure 3 Figure 2 Figure 1
Hanging Across Pole Figure 1
Hanging Across Pole Figure 2
Hanging Across Pole Figure 3, 4 & 5
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Fig5
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G̱anii diyeet w’itkw ahl hlig̱ooḵt

K’a-w’iila’ihl G̱alts’ap Gitwinksihlkw gi- k’uhl. Gip’pil wil t’apmihlt. Ksgalanim wil t’ap mihlt, wil k’ii jaga lukw diit ahl Hlaxwhl’yansh, ganhl Gwinaha, aanu galax̱dilihl Galts’ap. Hla jijok sim’oogit ahl Gwin’aaha, n’i wilt japt diit pts’aan wat ahl Spa Smax. Nihl Sim’oogit Wii Seeks Gitspuudwada an gahlkwt, Giskaast nit. Hilmoomin Sim’oogit Niislisyan, Lax̱ Gibuu n’it. Ganhl k’yoohl wila’askws Wii Seeks, N’iikwax̱hast wat, Giskaast nit. Gitwinksihlkw wil sa bakhl simgigat dip tgun. Gwin’aaha wil hitkwhl pts’an tgun. T’ap x̱o’olt t’im ḵayx duhux ḵayx gan’agwihl pts’aanim spasmax tgun.

1929 wilt woot dit. N’ii wilt Giikwihl Museum of the American Indian ahl New York. N’i wilt gwilks giikwihl Canadian Museum, ii N’ii wil hitkwit sat tgun ahl Canadian Museum of Civilization ahl Ottawa.

Hli adoḵsit:

1. Baahlkwhl gat oo ligii w̓ii ts’ag̱am gat. (Nidii wilaaks hli adwaag̱at).

2. Jag̱a-y̓ax̱y̓aḵ oo ligii ḵ’aba gat

Sim nidii aluut’aahl aguhl anhihl wil jag̱a- y̓ax̱y̓aḵ. Sayt k’il̓ wilaa yeet ahl wilaa jabihl adwaaḵ ahl wil gwiix w̓ildigitgum Gitksanhl wat as Neekt. Huxwdii n̓ii-t’aa lax̱-pts’aanim tx̱aa sakwsim g̱ans Kw’ax̱suu. Ii huxw tḵ’al-luu-dihitgwit wilt hukw’isihl gwiix siilin̓sgwithl lik’in̓skw ahl adawaag̱am nox̱hl smax.

3. Lik’in̓skw
4. Migathl hlgu smax
5. Siisag̱am w̓eenhl hlgu smax

Sayt ninda-dox̱kwhl gwilal̓hl adwaaḵ tgun ahl adwaag̱am wilphl nox̱hl smax, g̱anhl lik’in̓skw. Han̓iig̱ootdiit luu-dihitkwhl nigwoodim lik’in̓skwhl k’uba smax.

Sim gik’uuhl hlaa mukwhl maay̓ tx̱as sint, ii adigwil sayt kw’ihl saa-hlo’ohl haanaḵ’ ahl g̱alts’ap, g̱o’odiit wil simaay̓diit ahl g̱agililihl g̱alts’ap n̓iwilt sdildiithl k’yoohl hlguuhlgum hanaḵ’hl sim’oogit. N̓it an luu-daltkwhl ax̱ anbiskw wil dii simaay̓t.

Sim hiihlukw wilt kwsdaḵsihl haanaḵ’hl g̱alts’ap, wilk’ii saa-hlo’odiit lax̱-dax g̱aḵ’alaan̓hl g̱alts’aphl dim g̱o’odiit wil t’ahl maay̓. Yukwhl hlo’odiit n̓iwil wilhl hanaḵ’ tgus, n̓ii-yatl’ikskwhl hli ksaxwhl smax. Sim siipkwhl g̱oothl hanaḵ’ tgus iit kwhlii-haks hlagadoo’ohl smax, lip agu wilaa hit ahl smax. Hliskwhl hit wilk’ii hlo’odiit, g̱o’odit wil t’ahl maay̓.

Luu-dabihl sahl wilhl haanaḵ’hl simaay̓diit. Hlaa mitmitkwhl g̱adihlkwdiit, wilk’iit gwildim g̱oot’indiithl g̱adihlkwdiit hlaa dim haw̓diit. N̓iwil wilhl hanaḵ’, gwildim g̱oot’inthl walxt ii gwanim t’ukwhlal̓st hli deex̱hl dii dihlkwt. Hagwin-hlo’o hlag̱a ts’uuhl haanaḵ’ dimt hlimoomdiit n̓it. G̱anii n̓ihl wilt, gwanim t’ukwhlal̓st. Hlaa pliihlikskwhl silg̱a wilithl gibe’eskw diit, n̓iwil hit loodiit, “Ado’o k’ii hlo’osim̓ dim sil̓idiy̓ n̓isim̓.”

Hlaa g̱alaanhl silsdilit, bayt ligii w̓itkwhl gat awa’at, ii n̓iwil hit ahl hanaḵ’, “Dim hlimoomiy̓ n̓iin, dim jabiy̓hl dihlgwin.” Ḵ̱’am ḵ’e’ent wilaagwihl gathl dihlkwt iit hlisa’ant. N̓iwil hihl gat loot, “Dim gwilks- sdiliy̓ n̓iin,” wilk’ii saa-hlo’odiit. Nidiit wilaaxhl hanaḵ’ wil liksgat wilaa hlo’odiit. Hlaat liksgat’int n̓iwil hihl gat loot: “Dim dag̱o’odiy̓ n̓iin awa’ahl wilp lax̱-sg̱an̓ist, dim ii k’ax luu-t’aan awa’ay̓.” Hlaa t’ip- yukwhl yukwsa ii nidiit da’aḵhlkwhl dim luuyaltkwt ahl wil joḵdiit, n̓iwil aḵhl wilt, aamhl k’ax̱ luu-t’aat awa’ahl gat.

Hlaa n̓akwhl yukwsa ii liksgat’inskwhl g̱alts’ap wil nidii w̓itkwt. Wilk’ii sit’aama’am gitksdiit loot. Hlaa huxw k’il̓hl sa iit w̓adiithl g̱ag̱eeḵst, ninda dox̱gwithl g̱ag̱eeḵshl smax. N̓iwilt wilaaxdiit wilt sidooḵhl smax n̓it.

Hlaa hugax̱hl g̱abiihl k’uuhl hlidaa kw’ootkwhl hanaḵ’ tgus iit wilaax kwsdinsoolhl g̱abiihl gimxditkwt wil ḵ’ay dididilst. Hlaa silkwhl maadim wilk’ii saa-yeehl silgidim gimxdit dim gigil̓thl sbi-smax lax̱-sg̱an̓ist wil luu-joḵdiit. Sim hiihlukw wil saa-yeet, hlaa hagwin-dilpkwt awa’ahl sbi-smax iit ga’ahl gimxdit wil aat’ikst, iit ninda dox̱ahl w̓ii smaxhl moosim an’unt, iit sg̱a-sawit ii hak’sim liks sgat wilaa yeet. Nidiit k’ax w̓ahl gimxdit.

Wilk’ii hak’sim luuyaltkwt ahl g̱alts’ap, wayt nidiit w̓ahl gigil̓diit. Hlaa huxw k’il̓hl sa, wilk’ii dii saa-yeehl luu-anyeehl wakt dim bag̱at dimt w̓ahl gimxdit. Hlaa hagwin-dilpkwt ahl awa’ahl sbi-smax wil luu- joḵ diit, n̓iwil hak’sim huxw wilhl w̓ii smax ninda dog̱athl gilp’ilhl g̱ats’iw̓in̓aḵst iit sg̱a-sawit. Ii huxwdii k’il̓a-yeehl gimxdit ii gwilks-g̱alw̓itkwt, nidii agu ji w̓ayit. N̓i wil huxwdii hihl ts’uu gwiloonhl niwagit dim huxw dii gigiks, wilk’ii saa-yeet sim hiihlukw, hlaa sim hagwin-dilpkwt awa’ahl sbi-smax n̓iwil huxw wilhl smax ninda dok dit gwilal̓thl g̱ats’iw̓in̓aḵst iit sg̱a-sawit ii huxwdii liksgat wilaa yeehl ts’uu gwiloonit niwagit, huxwdii g̱alw̓itkwt. N̓iwil huxw dii saa-yeehl ts’uu tx̱alpx̱doolhl niwagit ii g̱anii n̓it wilaagwihl smax n̓it, ninda didax̱ dog̱athl tx̱alpx̱ g̱ats’iw̓in̓aḵst iit, kw’ihl sawit ii huxwdii liksgat wilaa yeehl gat, ii huxwdii g̱al w̓itkwt. Yukwhl min-al’algaxhl niwagit mahldiit wilt aat’ixdiit wil sim hagwin-dilpkwdiit ahl sbi-smax ii nidiit wilaaxdiit ag̱ug̱ant ax̱ w̓adiit

N̓iwil huxwdii hihl ts’iw̓ingidim wakdiit, dim huxwdii saa-yeet, iit halaagax̱hl wakkwt. “Dim kw’oodikskw n̓iin, nidii hasag̱am̓hl dim saa-hlo’om̓hl dim giksim̓ loon”. Ansiguhl hlgu gat heediit, wilk’ii naahlḵt, sim luu-hugax̱at wilaa japkwhl naahlḵ. Hlaa gwildim g̱oodat wilk’iit jipjaphl amaa nax̱ iit doḵhl hugax̱hl g̱abiihl wineex dim aajax̱gwit ahl ligii gwilal̓hl sahl dim wilt.

Sim hiihlukw wilk’ii saa-yeet wil wayt yukwsahl g̱an̓agwihl yeet. Hlaa dim sḵ’eex̱kw wilk’ii joḵt hlaxwhl w̓ii seeḵs. Sim hiihlukw wilk’iit sit’aama’am pdaltkwhl sgan̓ist. Hlaat ga’ahl w̓ii smax wil aat’ikst, wilk’iit ninda x̱dog̱ahl g̱a kwsdins g̱ats’iw̓in̓aḵst iit baḵhl dimt k’il̓a sawit, nidiit aat’ix hlgu gat, g̱anii n̓i wilaa pdaltkwt lax̱-sg̱an̓ist awa’ahl sbi-smax.

Sim luu’aamhl g̱oothl hanaḵ’ wilt ga’ahl wil hlaa w̓ii gathl ts’iw̓ingidim gimxdit iit guuhl maakws iit dam̓ikst iit y̓ag̱a-uxt wil yeehl gimxdit. Ii wayt y̓ag̱a-ax̱lilpt awa’ahl wil yeet, iit guut ii aluut’aahl an’una gat ahl maakws. N̓iwilt wilaax wil ḵ’ay didilsihl gimxdit. Wilk’ii sit’aama’am pdaltkwt awa’ahl sbi-smax.

Hlaat wilaaxhl smax dim wilt jagwihl gat tgus n̓it, wilk’iit siwilaay̓int ahl lim’ooy̓. N̓ig̱an tx̱aa n̓itkwst jagwihl Nisg̱a’ahl smax iit yeetdiithl limx tgun lax̱’ut. Hlaa bax̱-aḵhlkwhl gimxdit ahl sbi-smax wil luu- joḵdiit, wilk’iit jagwihl w̓ii smax. Tx̱alpx̱doolhl hlgim smaxhl hanaḵ’ tgus. Gwiloonhl ii’uxwt ii k’yoolhl hanaḵ.’ N̓iwilt sayt doḵhl gimxdit n̓idiit iit luu- dihilyaltkwt ahl g̱alts’ap.

Hlaa ḵ’am sint, ii luu-g̱atg̱oot’inskw hli gadihl g̱alts’ap, sahoondiit, ii ginaa-luu- k’il̓ikskwhl k’uba smax ts’im-simwilp. Iit saa-doḵdiithl anaasa smaxdiit iit hug̱ax̱diit wilaa jipjabihl ḵ’ap k’ubatk’ihlkw, wilk’ii g̱alaaḵ’diit. N̓iwilt nax̱n̓as nox̱diit g̱a alimidihl k’ubatk’ihlkw. Adigwil t’aahl gimxdidiithl siix-ga’askwt ahl naahl dim aat’iksit, ḵ’am silkwthl w̓ayihl wildiit, saa-dog̱ahl gwiis smaxt. Sim n̓iwilt ga’ahl wil aat’iks nox̱diit, wilk’iit mahlit ahl gimxditkwt wil k’ii laam̓iit haxhooxdiithl g̱agwiis smaxdiit.

G̱anii n̓ihl wilaa liksgat’inskwhl nox̱diit, hlaa ḵ’am huxw sa, iit mahlit loodiit dim wil huxw saa-yeet. Hlaa wilt kwsdaḵsit, wil k’ii hit ahl k’uba smax, nii dim diit anooḵ diithl dim ts’akhl anlakw, dim adigwil n̓ii- t’ahldiithl lakw loot. N̓iwil wils nox̱diit ḵ’amts’in luuyaltkw ii liksgathl yox̱gwit yukwhl nii dim diit ga’ahl k’uba smax n̓it.

Sim n̓iwil g̱alaant wilk’iit saa-dog̱ahl k’uba ii’uxwim smax g̱agwiis smaxdiit wilk’ii g̱alaaḵ’diit, hlaat ga’as nox̱diit wilk’ii ts’ilim-bax̱t iit sayt dox̱hl g̱agwiis smaxdiit wil k’iit n̓ii-txeldit lax-anlakw. Wilk’ii wanhl k’ubatk’ihlkw sigatkwdiit. Hlaa ḵ’ap m̓isḵ’a k’ubatk’ihlkwdiit guun̓. Ḵ̱’am k’yoolhl hlgu hanaḵ’ an da’aḵhlkwt ginaa- haxhooxhl anaasa smax.

Hlaa aamhl g̱an̓agwit, hlaa w̓it’ax̱ ii’uxwthl k’ubatk’ihlkw, hlaa silkwhl maadim wilk’ii saa-hlo’odiit, siilin-smaxdiit. Sdildiithl gimxdim smaxdiit. N̓it an adigwil w̓ahl wil wanhl sbi-smax, wilk’iit jakwdiit, n̓ihl gip diit tx̱as maadim.

nisga’a story 4

nisga’a story 5
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The Bears’ Den totem pole was erected at Gwin’aaha around the year 1900 and carved by Chief Wii Seeks (“Huge Sparkling Star”) of the Killer Whale tribe along with his helper, Chief Niislisyan of the Wolf tribe (owner and master of personal slave by the name of Y’an, “Leonard Douglas”) and N’iikwaxhast (“Fire weed all around”) of the Killer Whale tribe of Wii Seeks house. These carvers were originally from Gitwinksihlkw.

The Bears’ Den pole was purchased in 1929 by the Museum of the American Indian in New York. The National Museum of Canada purchased it from the MAI in 1977 and it now stands in the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa.

Crest Stories:

1. Split Person or Person with a Large Nose
(stories unknown)

2. Hanging Across, or Half Man

The meaning of the crest of Hanging Across is very unclear, and only vague notes remain regarding its significance. There have been suggestions that it relates to the history of the famous Gitksan warrior named Neekt, while its appearance on poles such as the Shaking Pole of K’wax̱suu may represent the hunter who ensnared the Grizzly bear in the Bear Mother story.

3. Grizzly Bear
4. Human-like Bear cub
5. Bear cub with sharp teeth

These three crests combine to tell the familiar story of the Bear Mother, with the Grizzly Bear likely representing the father of the bear cubs.

Years ago during berry picking season, it was traditional for the women of the village to go together to pick berries in the hills. There was once a woman who met a strange adventure when she went picking berries with the women of her village.

One early morning, the women started walking into the hills to go to the berry picking area. As they walked, this particular woman slipped on a piece of bear dung and fell. She was upset and cursed the bear, saying many harmful expressions to the bear, then she continued on her way to pick berries.

The women picked berries all day, and when they had filled their baskets they started preparing to go home with their packs. When this woman picked up her basket, her handle broke and the berries spilled. The other women tried to help her to fix her basket, but they became frustrated when it continued to break. She told them to go ahead and she would catch up with them.

After the women left, a man appeared and offered to help the woman. He helped her fix her basket, and then he offered to carry it and walk her home. They went walking together, but she didn’t realize that they were walking in the wrong direction. When she finally realized, he told her that he had a house on the mountain, and that she could stay with him there. It was already getting dark, and she couldn’t see her way back to her village. She had no alternative, so she went with the man.

Later that evening, the people discovered that she hadn’t returned, so they went looking for her. The following day, they found her tracks next to the tracks of a bear, and they realized that she had been deceived by the bear.

One winter, some years later after the woman had disappeared, her five brothers realized that she must still be alive. They decided they would search for her. The eldest brother left in search of the bear’s den in the mountains. He started walking early in the morning, and when he got close to the bear’s den, his sister saw him coming. But the bear put his hands together, with his thumbs together side by side, and waved him by. With this magic, the brother went past without seeing his sister, and he returned to his village unsuccessful in his search. The following day, the next oldest brother decided that he would go and look for his sister, but again, when he got close to the den, the bear put his hands together with thumbs and first finger pointed out and waved him by. He too went in a different direction and came home unsuccessful. The third brother decided to try too. When he got close to the bear’s den, the bear put his three fingers together and waved him by again he went different direction. He too came home unsuccessful. The fourth brother tried and again the bear put his four fingers together and waved him by. He too went in a different direction, and he too come home unsuccessful. The four brothers told each other how close they had come to the bear’s den, and where it was located, but for some reason they missed it every time.

The youngest brother decided that he would go in search of his sister. They all laughed at him and said, “You will get lost. We don’t want to have to go searching for you!” But he ignored their laughter. He fasted and went through what is required to cleanse himself through fasting. When he was ready, he fixed himself a good pair of snow shoes and took enough food for two or three days of hiking.

Early the next morning, he started walking and he walked until nightfall. When night fell, he camped and slept underneath a huge spruce tree, and then early the next morning he started climbing the mountain. The bear saw him coming, and he tried to wave him by with his hands, with the rest of his fingers pressed together. But the brother was not affected, and he continued up towards the bear’s den.

The sister was excited to see her young brother had grown to be a man, and she grabbed a handful of snow and threw it down the mountain. The snowball fell at the feet of her brother, and he saw the impression of her fingers in it. He now knew that she was alive, and he continued up towards the bear’s den.

The bear knew that the brother was going to kill him, so the bear taught the woman his dirge song. Since that time, the Nisg̱a’as have sung that song over the carcass every time they kill a bear. The brother arrived at the den, and he shot the bear. The mother bear was left in the den with her four children, three males and one female. The brother gathered them up and took them all home to the village.

When summer came, all of the people of the village were busy harvesting salmon. The little bears were left alone in the long house. When they saw that the people were gone, they took off their skins and became human children, and they started playing in the house. The mother heard the voices of children playing, and she grew suspicious. She went into the house to see the bears. The sister bear had only taken her skin halfway off, and she warned her brothers their mother is coming they quickly put their skins back on.

The mother was still suspicious, so the next day she told them that she was going out. She left the house and told the bear children to keep the fire going don’t let it go out, but then she carefully snuck around the other side and made her way back to another door where the bear children would not see her.

When she left, the bear children took off their bear skins and started playing. When she saw this, the mother suddenly ran into the house, took all the bear skins, and threw them on the fire. The bear children all cried, because now they had to remain human. All except the young girl bear, who had kept her skin on.

With time, the boys all grew into men. They used their sister bear to hunt for other bears in winter time. She would find the bear dens, and they would kill the bears and take them home for food.

Story 4
story 5
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