ANCIENT VILLAGES AND TOTEM POLES OF THE NISG̱A'A

Hli Adaawag̱ahl Wil Pdaalhl Aks G̱anhl Sg̱an̓isim X̱laawit
The Mythical Flood and the Mountain X̱laawit

Mountain X̱laawit

Anuu wil ksi-gwantkwhl hloḵs n̓i wilt ga’ahl g̱alts’abim Lax̱g̱alts’ap.
West face of X̱laawit, seen from near the village of Lax̱g̱alts’ap.

Wan n̓i wilaa mahlkwshl adaawaḵ lax̱- anhluut’ukwsim bukw, ii wan n̓ihl wilt ahl han̓iijoḵhl Nisg̱a’a. Halayt an mahlihl adaawaḵ wil huxwdii pdaalhl aks lax̱- han̓iijoḵhl Nisg̱a’a.

Sim gik’uuhl iit adigwil aat’ixhl halaydim Nisg̱a’a wil aat’ikshl haywis mahli k’il̓hl sa. K’il̓hl sa ii sim liksgat wilaat bag̱ahl haywis wiy̓t mahlit ahl gat. “N̓ihl haywis tgun hli gibayim̓is, sim sayt g̱oot’inhl hli g̱a’anisihl seeḵs ii mi sim sisaḵhl hli an sdo’ot. N̓it tgunhl dim hooyisim̓ jidaa bax̱- hlo’osim̓ lax̱-sg̱an̓ist. Dim sayt g̱oot’insim̓hl lip gabiihl m̓aal ii mi sim luu-mixmit’int ahl wineex.”

Way hlaa bax̱- yukwhl aks, wilḵ’iit sayt g̱oot’inhl gathl g̱am̓aaldiit ii wineex g̱anhl anisim seeḵs.
Ii hagwiluuwim simg̱an, ii hlaa wayt bax̱- aḵhlkwhl aks, iit leel̓hl halaythl gat ts’im- m̓aal, dim g̱al tḵ’al-dilpkwdiit ahl wil hilthl g̱ang̱an ahl wil dimt ukws-t’ishl g̱anhl m̓aal. “Dim yox̱gwisim̓hl ts’im-t’in tx̱as sg̱an̓ist.” Sim haagwil bax̱-yukwhl aks hli sdo’ohl sg̱an̓ist, n̓ihl sim k’aa w̓ii n̓agum sg̱an̓ist ahl ḵ’alii-aksim Lisimshl wat ahl X̱laawit.Hlaa bax̱-yukwdiit ahl lax̱-sg̱an̓ist, iit luu-dixdakhldiithl anisim seeḵs ts’im-lo’op, dimt wilaa tḵ’al-ts’iipdiithl g̱am̓aaldiit, dim wilaa ax̱ ksi- al’ulkskwhl m̓aal wil pdaalhl aks. Wayt bax̱-lak n̓idiit lax̱-uhl X̱laawit wilk’iit tḵ’al-ts’ipts’iipdiithl g̱am̓aaldiit ahl hagwiluuwim simg̱an dim wayt wil saa- yeehl aks. N̓i wilaa limootkwhl Nisg̱a’a hlaa pdaalhl aks.

 

X̱LAAWIT
Wil hitkwhl w̓ii n̓agum sag̱am sg̱an̓ist
X̱laawit g̱agiiksihl g̱alts’abim Gitwinksihlkw. Wayt ga’anhl hli gigeenihl
Sg̱anist ahl Gitwinksihlkw.Wil hitgwin ahl Fishery Bay ahl ḵ’alii Lisims ii mi ga’ahl sg̱an̓ist ahl anuu ksi-gwankwhl hloḵs.

Similar to the Christian story of the Great Flood that covered the earth, the Nisg̱a’a and other Northwest Coast peoples tell stories about a great flood that covered their lands in ancient times. The Nisg̱a’a flood story was passed down by the shamans throughout Nisg̱a’a history.

Long ago, a Nisg̱a’a shaman was feeling the rain every day, watching for a sign or a change in the weather. One day the rain felt different from the normal rain, so he told the people, “This is the rain we have been waiting for. Gather together spruce tree branches and sharpen one end. You will use these as wedges when we start to climb the mountain. Get as many canoes as you can, and fill them with food.”

The flood waters started to rise. The people gathered their canoes, supplies, spruce wedges and lengths of cedar rope. As the waters began to lift the people in their canoes, the shaman warned them, “Don’t go up the mountain side where there are trees – the trees can push over your canoes. Follow the ravines up the mountain side.”

The canoes slowly rose on the waters alongside the tallest mountain peak in the Nass River valley, X̱laawit. As they ascended the mountain, they hammered the spruce wedges into the rock crevices so they could tie their canoes and prevent them from drifting away with the flood waters. They went all the way to the top of X̱laawit, lashed their canoes to the peak with their cedar ropes, and remained there until the waters began to subside. This is how the Nisg̱a’a survived the Great Flood.

X̱LAAWIT
The tall, sharp peak of X̱laawit stands directly south of the village of Gitwinksihlkw. From Gitwinksihlkw, you see the north face of the mountain. From near Lax̱galts’ap and Fishery Bay on the Nass River, you see the west side of the mountain. From Gitlaxt’aamiks and modern New Aiyansh, you can see the east face.