Regalia Making Workshops Inspiring New Generation of Nisga’a Artists

Regalia Making Workshops Inspiring New Generation of Nisga’a Artists
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Regalia Workshops Are Improving Cultural Wellness


Nisga’a Valley Health Authority’s (NVHA) regalia workshops are helping to revitalize the Nisga’a culture and inspire new generations of Nisga’a artists.


“We teach people how to make regalia in a supportive, encouraging manner. We also teach them the cultural significance of the item they’re making and relevant Nisga’a words,” said Wal-aks, a NVHA Traditional Wellness Coordinator (TWC) who helps run the workshops.


Since moose hide and simg̱an (cedar) are strong, durable and flexible, they’ve traditionally been used to make regalia. Cedar has also been popular because its smell repels rodents and bugs.


Once the fur trade began, Nisga’a people began using simhahloo’o (cotton), – another strong, flexible material – to make regalia too.


Workshop participants often learn to make an ambilaan (dance apron) and t’ax̱kw (vest), which are popular men’s attire, and a naḵ (dress).


“Often, this regalia is worn when performing cultural dances or participating in ceremonies like stonemoving feasts,” said Wal-aks.


At the end of every workshop, you typically see a sea of black and red regalia.


“Both colours have many connections to our creation story and spirituality,” said Wal-aks.


Wal-aks loves to help organize and teach the workshops.  


“It’s really rewarding to not only see everyone improve their regalia making skills, but to also see youth take such a keen interest in this activity,” said Wal-aks.


On another note, our Mental Health staff recently helped run a cedar hat weaving workshop. View some of the highlights at


All our upcoming Mental Wellness programs and workshops are posted on our social media channels and website.


If you have questions or want to register for any of them, please email Walaks, or the other TWC, Tanya Stanley, at 


To learn how to pronounce the Nisga’a words in this article, please visit the webpages below.


1.) Ambilaan (Dance Apron):

2.) Naḵ (Dress):

3.) Simg̱an (Cedar):

4.) T’ax̱kw (vest):

5.)  Simhahlo’o (Cotton):