Ways of Life


Hunting and trapping provided another important source of food and resources for the Nisg̱a’a. Animals were hunted with bow and arrow (haxwdakw) or spears, but most often they were trapped.

There were two main types of traps: the deadfall trap (jap) and the snare (huḵw’is). Deadfall traps involved supporting large logs or pieces of timber in way that an animal passing underneath would “release” the support and be crushed by the falling log (this was commonly used for bears). Snares were used in a wide range of sizes suitable for animals ranging from rabbits to small bears.

The Nisg̱a’a used at least two types of spear. The t’aapk’ was a spear-like weapon used for large animals such as bears, and its point was made from the tip of a mountain goat horn. The naats’ was a smaller spear used for salmon.

Virtually every forest animal was hunted or trapped: bear, caribou, moose, deer, wolf, coyote, fox, beaver, muskrat, marten, fisher, mink, marmot, rabbit and mountain goat. Sea mammals such as seals and sea lions were also hunted.

Most animals were used both as food and as sources of materials such as bones, skins and furs for tools and clothing. Skins and furs were obvious choices for cloaks, vests, shirts and even pants, while bones were valuable for making spear points, knives, scrapers and even spoons.

Hide being dried
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Hide stretched out in a frame and leant against building with people standing beside it
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Many bear hides hung along a building with two people standing in front
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Hunting procession
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