Ceremony to Rededicate "Nishga Girl" To Be Held In Gatineau Quebec Today

Nisga'a Hereditary Chief Harry Nyce and his wife Deanna are in Gatineau Quebec today, to take part in a blessing ceremony for a special piece of northwest history.

The Nyce family donated a wooden gillnetter called the "Nishga Girl" to the Canadian Museum of Civilization -- which is now known as the Canadian Museum of History -- in 1998, and today, the display is being rededicated in its new location on the first floor of the building.

"We're going do a Nisga'a traditional blessing of the boat and there'll be speeches from dignitaries that are in the museum that helped us, and we're really fortunate -- part of our dancers from our village, Gitwinksihlkw, will be here as well, about 30-35 of them here," he explained.

George Macdonald, who was the museum's director when the boat was first displayed, said the "Nishga Girl" was an excellent addition to the Canadian History section of the museum. 

"I contacted Harry and other people on the coast, I went over to Haida Gwaii and looked to see what they had over there, but the best one was the Nishga Girl, it was in excellent shape, it needed some repairs but they were minor," said Macdonald.

The boat was constructed on the North Coast in 1967 by Japanese-Canadian boat builder Jack Tasaka, to symbolize the hundreds of such boats seized by the Canadian government from Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War. 

The Nishga Girl was the centre of controvery four years ago, when the museum announced it would return the gillnetter to the North Coast as the museum transformed itself. 

The resulting uproar led to a change in heart, and the museum instead moved it from the third floor to its present location on the first floor.