‘Na̲mg̲is Nation

Alert Bay

'Na̲mg̲is Cultural Heritage. Photo by 'Na̲mg̲is Nation
'Na̲mg̲is Cultural Heritage. Photo by 'Na̲mg̲is Nation.
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The main community of the ‘Na̲mg̲is is located in Alert Bay, on BC’s South Central Coast. Their traditional territory encompasses the Nimpkish and Bonanza watersheds.

‘Na̲mg̲is Nation

The ‘Na̲mg̲is territory covers 220,706 hectares and is located within the Nimpkish and Bonanza watersheds on north east Vancouver Island and the surrounding coastal area.

Within this vast territory lies the ‘Namgis River, Woss and Vernon Lakes as well as Cormorant, Pearse, and Hanson Islands and parts of Malcom and Harbledown Islands.

Yalis on Comorant Island. Photo by 'Na̲mg̲is Nation
Yalis on Comorant Island. Photo by ‘Na̲mg̲is Nation

The ‘Na̲mg̲is people originally lived at the mouth of the ‘Namgis River, but relocated their community to Cormorant Island to the village of Yalis to take advantage of the economic opportunities associated with a new saltery that had just be opened on the island. Yalis remains the main community of the ‘Na̲mg̲is Nation today.

The ‘Na̲mg̲is origin story tells of ʼNamxiyalegiyu, a sea monster, who saved the life of a ‘Na̲mg̲is man during a great flood. When the man returned to his homeland and realised he was all alone he took the name Namukustolis which means “Only One in the World.” The man transformed birds into people, creating the ‘Na̲mg̲is tribe. He adopted ʼNamxiyalegiyu as the tribe’s crest because it had saved his life and protected him during the flood.

ʼNamxiyalegiyu depicted as the 'Na̲mg̲is crest. Photo by 'Na̲mg̲is Nation
ʼNamxiyalegiyu depicted as the ‘Na̲mg̲is crest. Photo by ‘Na̲mg̲is Nation

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