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Niska. Significance unknown.
Phonetically spelled Nisk?aŽ. Also called:
Nass River Indians, from their habitat.
Connections. The Niska were one of the three tribes or tribal
groups constituting the Chimmesyan linguistic family.
Location. On Nass River and the neighboring coast. (See also
Subdivisions and Villages
There were four divisions or tribes which, including
the village or villages of each, are as follows:
Kithateh or Gitrhatin, including the villages of Kincolith, on Nass
Inlet, and Lakkulzap or Greenville.
Kitgigenik or Gitwinksilk, including the village of Lahanla or
Lakungida, near the mouth of Nass River.
Kitwinshilk, including the village of Lahulyans or Underleaf.
Kitanwilksh, including the village of Kitlakdamik or Gitlarhdamks,
above the canyon of Nass River, and Aiyansh, on the lower course of
The following names of villages are also given by various writers:
|Kitaix, near the mouth of Nass River.
Gwinwah, on Nass River.
Kisthemuwelgit or Willshilhunhtumwillwillgit, on the north
side of Nass River near its mouth.
Qunahhair, on the south bank of Nass River just below the
Sheaksh, on the south bank of Nass River, 5 miles above the
Kitahon, Kitangata, Kitlakaous, and Andeguale may be
additional towns or synonymous names for some of the
|Emmons (in Hodge, 1910) divides
the Niska into the Kitkahteen (Kithatch), including those
below the canyon, and the Kitanweliks (Kitanwilksh), those
above the canyon.
History. The history of the Niska was almost
the same as that of the Tsimshian (q. v.), though the resort of so
many tribes to Nass River during the eulachon run may have given
them a more cosmopolitan character than the other Chimmesyans.
Population. (See Tsimshian.) In 1902 the population of the
Niska towns was given as 842, in 1906 as 814.
Connection in which they have become noted. Besides the
connections mentioned in treating of the Taimshian, the Niska were
noteworthy from the fact that the territory they occupied included
Nass Inlet, which was a place of resort for tribes from all sections
during the eulachon season, and that the myths of many of these
tribes center around it. Perhaps it was owing to this circumstance
that the Nass River seems to have been the center of the northwest
cultural area Nooksak. A tribe, living mainly in the State of
Washington, which is said to have branched off from the Squawmish of
British Columbia. (See
The Indian Tribes of North of America, by
John Swanton, 1953