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Newsletter Masthead 1920 - Summer 2021 E
Table of Contents


Please select from the headings below to read articles in any section,

or feel free to scroll down at your leisure to access each article as it appears. 


Welcome Message

To the Malsgm Sa'winsk

Greetings Subscribers!

Welcome to the Summer 2021 Edition of Malsgm Sa'winsk (Newspaper).

We hope you enjoyed the spring edition of our newsletter. We are now thrilled to bring you more news and happenings from our communities. The summer newsletter highlights youth and community activities that took place throughout spring, provides updates about Lighthouse construction, offers inspiring insights from the people, shares mouth-watering recipes, fun activities with prizes, and offers the latest news on the easing of COVID restrictions in the province, among other things. 

We would love to hear any ideas for stories, community events and other newsworthy activities that you may wish to share. 

Please click HERE to send us your stories, suggestions and feedback.

Wishing you a wonderful summer!

Community Spotlight

Community Spotlight


Algya̱ga K’üülm G̱oot

November 2020 to April 2021

On the last Sunday of April 2021, Youth Leaders of Algya̱ga K’üülm G̱oot closed their 10-week experience with a traditional cold water cleanse in Kitsumkalum Lake. This was lead by Sigidum hanank’ X’aam’aal’ niiy’ bagwit - Sherry McDames, Apwatk Gita Goot* - Susan Clayton, Litaalaxdau Gibaau - Sharon Bryant and Dm Syl Haaytk Gibaau - Emily Bryant and co-organized by Britt McDougall.

Algyaga K’üülm Goot means ‘to speak from one heart’

Youth Interests & Hobbies

In this new section, we explore noteworthy activities our youth are passionately engaged in. Activities that require time, effort, imagination and skills to achieve their vision!

In this edition we visit eleven-year-old Eric Roberts who lives in Kitsumkalum. His matrilineal line comes from Gitwangak, Gitxsan Nation. Eric has been a wrestling fan since a very early age.  He has taken to handmaking action figure accessories and is learning to create stop-motion videos depicting wrestling matches. It was inspiring to sense Eric’s excitement in wanting to share his story with NIFCS Newsletter audience. There was absolutely no hesitation to interview!

In a time of much change in the world with Covid-19, Eric spent some of his time learning, creating and developing his interest in wrestling, action figures and videography.  It was heartening to see a youth actively engaged in a creative endeavor and working to improve his skills. We hope you enjoy this video interview.



Gitxaala Men's Group Share Knowledge about Harvesting Medicine with Youth

The gathering was a collaboration of the community's Adult Drop-in program and Youth Services. This was an idea that the Men’s Group had come up with during one of their planning sessions. The Adult Drop-in program decided to welcome youth to join in and attend their sessions. It started off when the Adult Drop-in coordinator, Ursula Nelson, invited an Elder to share about traditional medicine. The elder shared stories about their life, and how medicine was harvested and utilized for the well-being of the community.


After the gathering with the elder, the group planned an outing to harvest some traditional medicine. We utilized three local boats to ferry eight individuals out to harvest Devil's Clubs (Wooms). We found a nice spot for a good harvest of this medicinal plant. The youth got to experience the entire process from harvesting to making the actual medicine. Not only did the youth, adults and workers enjoy the harvesting, the boat ride and outing was relaxing as well. Below are some pictures from our trip.

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Elders sharing knowledge about Gitxaala Traditional medicine with local youth.

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Departing from our dock in Gitxaala. We made sure that all those traveling had life jackets on!

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We arrived at our destination and started our adventure to search for Devil's Club (Wooms)

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The excitement from everyone, especially the youth when we found the Devil's Club. An important piece of knowledge shared by the Elder was to get the plant from an area where there is no contamination to the medicine. It is for this reason that we had to come out to this remote location to harvest. 

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As we started harvesting the Devil's Club, the Elder taught us the importance of giving thanks and how we should take only what we needed and not to over harvest. This will help preserve the growth for continued use of the medicine. 

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There were a couple options to remove the thorns. One is the modern way, utilizing a knife, and the other was the traditional method by using stones. The youth found using the stones to be more effective and well-suited for this purpose.

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A cold-brewed Devil's Club medicine! We cleaned off the outer bark and left the inner bark which was then stripped to be used to make the medicine. The removal of the outer bark allows for a less bitter taste. Next, we hope to explore and practice additional methods of making medicine with the Devil's Club in the near future.


Family Fishing Derby in Lax Kw'alaams

Lax Kw’alaams Family Fishing derby was sponsored by NIFCS and organized by our Youth Empowerment Worker, Katherine Cooper, Debra Kelly from Brighter Futures and Jocelyn Morrison.


It was an amazing week of family fun, laughs and excitement! Sure, the prizes gave incentive to leave the house, but this week was about bonding and quality family time. So many parents were happy and expressed their appreciation for the event. We were thankful for the turn out and look forward to hosting another derby next year. Congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to all who participated!

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1st Place - Adults

First place for the adults is Ted White. Photos taken by his wife Naomi White. Ted's giant winning fish weighed in at 22.4 lb!

In Naomi’s words, “We just pulled up to Shawn to see how he was doing, and he told us he had just lost a big one, so Ted thought he would try one last spot before he called it a night…… Minutes later Ted caught a fish, I swear it’s the big one Shawn had just lost. I have never in my whole life seen a spring salmon as big as the one Ted had caught”

2nd Place - Adults

Shawn White came in second place with a 13 lb spring salmon. Shawn was very generous with each fish he caught. As Shawn continued to catch, he also continued to share his fish with family and friends and on Facebook. Picture taken by his wife Estella White

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3rd Place - Adults

Traci Reece came in third place with a 12.8 lb spring salmon.


Traci also caught more than one and shared her fish with family. Picture with the prize was sent in by Traci. Picture with the fish taken by Katherine.

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1st Place - Kids

First place for the children's category at the Lax Kw’Alaams Family Fishing Derby was won by Taylor Sankey with a 12.8 lbs Halibut. The prize was too big for her family’s little house, so Taylor plans on sharing her winnings with her little cousins.

2nd Place - Kids

Kaleb Sampson won the second prize with a 11.4lbs lingcod. Kaleb was very happy to win his rowboat. Pictures taken by his auntie Marcedies Spencer

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Third Place - Kids

Huukusta White winning third place with an 8.13 lbs Spring. Huukusta was extremely happy with all the fish. She was so excited to eat it, she didn’t want to wait to weigh in.  Pictures taken by Estella White

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Participation Gifts

A very big thank you to GRD Construction LTD. for the $200 donation. This donation was broken down and presented to all children who came out to participate in the Lax Kw’alaams Family Fishing Derby. Here are just a few of the pictures of the happy children with their cash prizes!

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Staff Spotlight

NIFCS Staff Spotlight

Emily Wilson
Emily - Malsgm Sa'winsk Staff Spotlight

Please introduce yourself, traditional or non, you pick:​

Hello, my name is Emily Wilson and I am currently a Generalist Social worker here at Northwest Inter Nation Family and Community Services Society in the Prince Rupert NIFCS office. I am of Nisga’a and Tsimshian descent. In my younger years, I was not exposed much to my cultural roots but when I started working for NIFCS, I’ve learned so much and am still learning.

What is your role at NIFCS?

When I first started with NIFCS on October 1st, 2007, I was a Roots worker. I worked with families to put together their family genealogy and connect children with their biological families.  From there, I became a Guardianship Social Worker and then transitioned into a Generalist Social worker when NIFCS received full child protection delegation in November 2017.

What was your very first job (In general)?

One of my first jobs was babysitting.


Describe how and when you came to NIFCS?

A friend of mine had seen the job posting and forwarded to me the information and I immediately applied.  I went through the process and was hired shortly after applying. I started with NIFCS on October 1st, 2007 and will continue to try my best to help children and families.

What is your favorite Dinosaur?

I don’t have a favorite dinosaur.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

I would say that my biggest pet peeve is having to repeat myself.

Most memorable moment from 2020?

I can’t think of anything at this time.

What is your favorite chocolate bar?

I have a couple of favorite chocolate bars which include Twix, Caramilk  and Turtles.

Do you have a favorite song?

Country music in general is my preference of music. I have many favorite songs that I can not just chose one.

If you had an extra $200 to spend on anything, what would you buy?

I would probably buy minky blankets off the internet. It’s been my past time since COVID 19 pandemic started.  

Do you have any words of wisdom to offer youth who may be considering your profession?

I have been telling the youth that education is very important and to stay in school. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Believe in yourself, you can do anything you put your mind to.


Are you a cat, dog, or bird person?

I would say that I am a bird person. Plus my crest is an eagle.


If you could pick your birthday dinner, what would you chose?

I would say a steak cooked well done with a twice baked potato, carrots and a lemon meringue pie for dessert.

Tricia Ferguson

Please introduce yourself, traditional or non, you pick.

My name is "Kuulat". My English name is Tricia Ferguson. I am Haida from the Kyaanuuslii Ravens. My late nonnie was Mae Toms, and my late chinnie was Phillip Parnell.

What is your role at NIFCS?

Team Leader for Terrace.

What was your very first job (In general)?

Home maker. I cleaned elder homes.

Describe how and when you came to NIFCS?

I saw a job posting and one of my friends told me about NIFCS. I applied for the job as a Team Leader and I turned out to be a  successful candidate. I started here in May 2017

What is your favorite Dinosaur?

Tyrannosaurus Rex!

What is your biggest pet peeve?

I don't think I have one.


Most memorable moment from 2020?

Being pregnant with my twins!

What is your favorite chocolate bar?

Coffee Crisp!

Do you have a favorite song?

Dancing in the sky by Dani and Lizzy.

If you had an extra $200 to spend on anything, what would you buy?

Baby clothes as I have twins and can't stop shopping for them!

Do you have any words of wisdom to offer youth who may be considering your profession?

Have compassion and believe that people can change even if they don't believe it. Also, you have to believe that our families have the answers on how to support their family member in crisis.

Are you a cat, dog, or bird person?

None of the above.

If you could pick your birthday dinner, what would you chose?

Steak, mashed potato from Mr. Mikes!


Veronica Shirey Scholarship Fund

Plant 2

Veronica Shirey was a dedicated social worker responsible for guardianship and protection services with NIFCS. She started working with the agency in 2007 as a roots worker where she took on the responsibility of securing caregiver families for children who were under the care of NIFCS. Not long after that, she became a guardianship worker and was wholeheartedly engaged in helping children find permanency with people that became family and places that became homes.


Veronica remained faithful to this goal, and never waivered from her commitment to make a difference in the lives of children even as she battled cancer for several years. Despite being ill, she continued to work and serve her community in Gitxaala First Nations to the last days of her life. She passed away at the end of 2020, leaving behind her spouse, four adult children and extended family members. She will be deeply missed, and her radiant spirit will continue to light our path as we do our best to honour her memory by serving the people as she did, with kindness, care and love.


It is with this in mind that we proudly announce the launch of the Veronica Shirey Scholarship Fund as a legacy to her selfless service and exemplary qualities. This scholarship will be awarded to Children in Care, who are selected for their perseverance, hard work, effort in their education, and in graduating from high school when leaving care. It is hoped that this fund will support the youth through vouchers and other means to obtain driving licenses; bicycles and bus passes for personal mobility; computers and other devices that provide access to skills, information and services, as well as gift cards. We envision this scholarship to be an extension of the generous and loving service that Veronica provided for the children under her care. 


In addition to the above, the main hall at the Lighthouse to be built in Gitxaala will be named the Veronica Shirey Hall in lasting memory of her services to the community.

Culture & History


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Wisdom from our Elders

Anne McDames from Kitselas Shares Some Thoughts 

Q: What are some of the highlights in your life from a cultural standpoint that brought you joy?

A: I was involved with the Kitselas Elders when they first began. I learned our songs from Endudoon . The late Chris Bolton was the one who sang these songs. I really caught on to the songs and enjoyed singing and drumming. The group saw that I was finding my voice to sing. That was the highlight  of my life, to be able to sing and drum and learn more songs. We also went to Metlakatla Alaska to perform. It was awesome!!

Q: What advice would you share with young people today to help them navigate life using culture and tradition as a guide?

A: I would encourage the young people to come and listen to the songs and drumming, also to go to the feast hall to observe what is happening. I would also encourage them to draw what they want to draw to show what culture means to them.

Q: What is your view of the future for our people and culture?

A: I am praying that the doors will be open soon so we can meet face to face with the youth and the parents. It means a lot to see each other. We have been isolated for too long that we don't know how they will react to being connected. We had our very first drumming and singing practice out by the soccer field and it was amazing! We were able to laugh and have fun together again.

FunTastic Activities




Love crossword puzzles?

Our puzzle specialist Ocean Georgelin has created

a new puzzle in Sm’algyax for the

summer edition of our newsletter!

Are you up for a challenge?

Click below for this fun and delightful puzzle.



There is a SECRET WORD

concealed within this newsletter.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it,

is to put on your Sherlock hat and find it!


In the box below you will find pointers & clues:

(pointers tell you where to go; clues tell you where to find each letter)

There are 5 letters in the Secret Word.

When you combine them according to the

sequence below, you will uncover the Secret Word.


Submit your Secret Word and enter the

$100 Gift Card Draw!

THREE winners will be drawn from the pool of correct submissions. Simply email your answer to: 

by July 10 2021




01. Pointer -> Culture & History! Clue: The 1st letter in the first word of the four-word sub-heading in this section.

02. Pointer -> Yummy Recipes! Clue: The 7th letter in the first word of two-word heading in this section.

03. Pointer -> Health & Wellness! Clue: The 2nd letter in the name of the virus that caused the pandemic.

04. Pointer -> Newsletter! Clue: This 1st letter in the name of this newsletter.

05. Pointer -> Over the Horizon! Clue: 9th letter in the name of buildings being built by NIFCS in communities.


Relishous Recipes




by Clifford Ryan from Metlakatla


I chose smoked peppered salmon to share with you , because we are preparing to go out fish for sockeye salmon this month.

We start by:

a) Filleting/cleaning

b) Slice in half not cutting thru tail (for hanging purpose 

    in smokehouse)

c) Soak in brine for 3 hrs then remove from brine

d) Pat dry and prep for ingredients

Ingredients (for 10 whole salmon):

a) 3 bags light brown sugar

b) 3 bags dark brown sugar

c) 4 cups peppercorn

d) 1/2 cup all spice

e) 1/2 cup Cajun

f) 1/2 cup coarse black pepper

g) 1/2 cup seasoning salt


a) Mix thoroughly then rub on salmon (both sides)

b) Hang in smokehouse for 24 hours (depending on

    how much smoke flavour you like)

c) Remove from smokehouse and cut to fit jars

d) Cook for 3 hours.

e) We like to vacuum seal some whole; to cook you can

   steam in pot or bake in oven

If baking whole, add water to pan and bake for 20 min; brush with oolichan grease & potatoes seaweed; if using jarred peppered salmon, open jars steam in pot, or you can mix with mayo mustard green onions and have it with crackers


Sit back and enjoy !!




by Charlene Ryan from Metlakatla


I am happy to share our seasonal food with you, because we are busy harvesting right now. We start around end of April until the beginning of June. We travel around our traditional territory as a family and harvest enough for winter months. Sometimes it can be rough, but when we arrive, its like pure paradise!

We start by:

a) Filling our buckets (they have holes on the bottom

    to drain excess water)

b) Then transfer to sacks (easier to carry) before we

    take them home

c) Laying them on clean boards to dry thoroughly

   (there cannot be any moisture or it will become



a) We then make squares and toast them in oven

b) After that we crush them and fill them into Ziploc


c) Alternatively we can chop the seaweed and sun

   dry them, or cut into small squares to be pan-fried.

My favorite is fried seaweed, with fish & rice or potatoes and touch of grease. I also enjoy toasted/chopped seaweed with rice, grease and salmon, as well, I enjoy them jarred, smoked or cooked with laan rice. There are so many ways to use seaweed eg. seafood chowder or simply sprinkle seaweed just before your ready eat your favorite dish! It is versatile, healthy and yummy!

Over the Horizon