The Nimpkish River, or the Gwa'ni River, was the first place where captain George Vancouver encountered the 'Namgis people. Peoples of the coastal islands and mountains of Vancouver Island, the 'Namgis' traditional territory surrounds Port McNeil, Hanson Island, the Southern end of Malcolm Island, Beaver Cove and inland surrounding Nimpkish Lake and river, Atluck lake, Woss lake, Schoen lake and Vernon Lake. The 'Namgis First Nation are a part of the Kwakwaka'wakw Nations in Alert Bay. Today many members of the 'Namgis First Nations reside in 'Yalis in Alert Bay, continuing in an active engagement with their natural resources. 1
Along with many of the other Kwakwaka'wakw Nations, the 'Namgis speak Kwakwala. 2
Some of the artists from the 'Namgis community in the University of Victoria Art Collections include Wayne Alfred, Kevin Daniel Cranmer, Bruce Alfred, and William Wasden Jr.(Wak'analagalis) among others. Our collection of 'Namgis material is found largely in our extensive Northwest Coast print collection.