In the mid eighties I was among a group of people visiting the land of the Nisga’a. The occasion was a conference but time for seeing the sights and tracking the Nisga’a history was built into the time frame. Obviously I used up a fair amount of film which still is safely stored somewhere in my storage. It must have been my first laptop very early this century that I scanned a few 4×6 prints of that trip onto. I came across them ransacking the dungeons of the present computer. This visit may well be the one that left a deeper impression than other journeys I have been on and going back there is on my list of things to do before keeling over. The prints were old when they were scanned into the computer, but despite a lack of clarity and such, I like to show them after having removed some damage and deterioration.
I see that the Nisga’a highway is paved now. In the 1980s, as soon as we left Terrace, we were on rather rough roads. There were no paved roads. On our way to Gitwinksihlkw, in those days it was called Canyon City, we drove through a landscape that may be described as strong. big… and showing a raw beauty. One place of interest was a forest fire, nothing too fierce but potentially dangerous nevertheless.
Finally we arrived at Gitwinksihlkw. It is situated across the river from the highway. In those days the only access was a narrow suspension bridge that allowed 15 people max on the bridge itself. The nass river, a grand river it is, runs underneath it quite a way down. So the parking place was on the road side and the village across the river and all the large stuff came in by barge. There were one or two cars in town and these were barged in as well. These days things have changed and the suspension bridge does not look as if it is used very much. The old parking lot is empty. On the photo you see us waiting to leave town while a group of 15 people is crossing the river.
Right outside this village are the lava grounds. In the 18th century one of the Nisga’a villages was covered by lava. This must all be part of the memorial park that is there now. The textures of this lava are quite interesting especially where it covered trees and trunks and hardened around them. This dead vegetation has long gone but its shapes are preserved by the lava casts. At any rate what shows on this photo covers a very large area.
Beside Gitwinksihlkw there are 3 more villages and I have no idea where the next photo was taken.
I hope to take a drive out that way next summer. Among other things I’ll be able then to put a location to this photograph. Thank you for accompanying me on this trip down my memory lane and in conclusion I wish you all a brilliant 2014.