All Nisga’a are members of one of four pdeek, a very large “family” whose common ancestors lived in the time before memory. Membership in a pdeek is matrilineal, (passed on through the maternal parent). Each pdeek has two major crests:
Gisk’aast: Killer Whale/Owl
Each pdeek owns different crests because each has different adaawak (traditional histories). An adaawak of the Ganada, for example, tells how some ancestors of this pdeek met a supernatural Raven and others met a supernatural Frog. Because of these events, members of some Ganada members have the right to show these crests.