Youth Zone

Nisga'a Lisims Government is featuring young Nisga'a athletes who have qualified for the North American Indigenous Football Association (NIFA) Teams to participate in the NIFA Soccer & Culture Europe Tour in August of 2024.

NIFA Series: Keyerstin Guno - U14

NIFA Series: Jackson Clayton - U10

NIFA Series: Sky Morgan - U10 


Stay tuned for further features of some impressive young Nisga'a athletes!

Are you a Nisga'a athelete who have qualified for NIFA? 

The following was submitted for sharing:

Emily Gillis, age 21, daughter of Farrah and Sam Azak, granddaughter of Audrey and Jerry Azak and Garry and Alice Nyce. She is in her final year at Thompson Rivers University is excelling in her Bachelor of Science Program.

Emily was born in Terrace and has lived all her life in Gitwinksihlkw. Going to Thompson Rivers University was her first adventure out of our valley.

She adjusted well from life in the tiny village of Gitwinksihlkw to University Life in Kamloops. She is now going on another adventure.

May 20-June 2, 2023, Emily will be in Thailand for an International Field School in Environmental Sciences and Biological Sciences. This course is designed to introduce students to the issues, approaches, policies and people involved with biodiversity management in Thailand. This course will provide students with opportunities to interact with local and international Chiang Mai University students who are enrolled in their Bachelor’s International Program in Environmental Science.

Congratulations Emily!

We thank Irene Squires and Emily’s mother Farrah Gillis for contributing this write up and photo of Emily’s remarkable accomplishments. 

Have a similar story to share?  Email and share your story with us!

Youth pictured left to right: Dana Small, Elijah Williams, Tiyanee Stevens, Stirling Tait, Patrick Guno 

5 Nisga’a youth traveled to Ottawa to participate in the 5th National Modern Treaty Negotiation and Implementation Simulation hosted by the Gordon Foundation and the Land Claims Agreement Coalition on February 26th and 27th2023. 

The 30 national youth participants were divided into three groups each representing a fictitious First Nations group named the Glacier Lake First Nations, the Yukon Government (territorial), and the Government of Canada (federal). The three groups were tasked with negotiating a Woodland Caribou Recovery Plan to address the over-harvesting of the herd’s declining population.

Each group was supported by experienced advisors who have negotiated real world agreements during their respective careers. Advisors included Frank Dragon, negotiator for Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations (KCFN), Robin Bradasch, Director of Governance at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC), and Lisa Hutton of CIRNAC’s Yukon Branch, Dave Joe and Dr. John B. Zoe – Yukon Umbrella Agreement and Tłı̨chǫ Agreement negotiators. On the first day, the youth had a chance to speak to the advisors and ask them questions regarding treaty negotiation and implementation.

They were then presented with their mandate letters which instructed each group through the scenario. The three groups were to write a proposal outlining what their party wanted to see in the recovery plan. Once the proposals were ready, the youth took to the negotiating table. The youth each enacted a specific role during the negotiations including the lead negotiator, chair, and notetaker. The negotiations were intense at times however, the youth were successful in negotiating an agreement which they presented to the entire group at the end of the second day.

The negotiation simulation was designed to give emerging Indigenous leaders the experience of real world negotiation situations as well as encourage the research of their own modern treaty agreements. T’ooyaksim nisim to the Gordon Foundation and the LCAC for inviting the Nisga’a youth to participate, as well as the Nisga’a Lisims Government and leadership for the continued support and encouragement of Nisga’a youth in modern treaty education. Si'aamhl wilsim!






The youth participant application can be found here:

Deadline to submit your application to be considered as a participant or parent/guardian chaperone is April 26th 2023

Please only submit complete and signed applications.

Note: Please be advised that selection is on a first come first served basis pending the youth/chaperone meeting all requirements.

There will be pre-travel meetings, fundraising, and gatherings before the exchange that must be attended by all participating youth as well.


Submit your complete and signed applications to Youth Engagement Coordinator, Charlene Tait


in person: NLG office in New Aiyansh

no later than April 26 2023

This presentation is not an in-depth discussion into the treaty document itself. More treaty training for youth will be coming later in 2023. This powerpoint will briefly touch on the vast history of the Nisga’a nation’s 113-year journey to the Final Agreement.

If you have an interest in being a part of any of the regional youth councils to receive more governance training and experience, please reach out to your village government or urban local youth councils. If you would like to participate in the Youth Advisory Council, which is the national governing body for youth, please send an email to Youth Engagement Coordinator, Charlene Tait,

A PDF document of the powerpoint presentation can also be found here: 








Thank you to our Zoom participants for joining us for this webinar, as well as Madame President Eva Clayton and the Executive members who provided answers and commentary!


The following is a letter that the Nation received:


Roberta asked that I send you some pictures with some information about my daughter Maddy Niesh, who is playing in the British Columbia Elite Hockey League as an underage player.


Maddy Niesh is granddaughter to Virginia L. Azak and great granddaughter to the late Alice Azak of Gitwinksihlkw.


Maddy had never skated until my cousin, Shylo Gerritsen, decided to take her to a public skating session with her family. Maddy was 6 years old at that time and after that she knew that skating was going to be her thing.  Maddy joined the Canskate Program with the Prince Rupert Figure Skating Club which she loved and excelled at moving through many levels in one season.  She ended up getting the Junior Canskater of the year trophy at the end of the season.  The next year Maddy stayed with the PR Figure Skating Club and also joined Prince Rupert Minor Hockey as a new hockey player starting at the Initiation A level, and then advancing to Initiation B after 2 weeks, then by Christmas she was skating with her peers at the Novice level.  


Female hockey was never an option in Prince Rupert so Maddy played hockey with boys at her age level and older. I believe playing integrated hockey really helped with her hockey skills and also that she was a very fast skater.


Maddy was committed to the Northern Capitals U18 Female AAA  hockey team as an underage player this past September.  The level of hockey is quite high, compared to what she has been used to and she seems to be adjusting well as a younger player.


Maddy also still continues to figure skate and is now with the Northern BC Centre for Skating in Prince George.  She is currently working on her last component of completing her Star 5 level.  Once she turns 16 years of age, she plans on taking her coaching certification for the Canskate and Canpower programs.  Maddy has been a program assistant in these programs since she was 10 years old, helping the younger skaters with their skating skills.  This is something she very much enjoys, she just recently got to work with the Director of Skating in the Canpower programs working with the young skaters and their powerskating skills.


Maddy will be trying out for the Team BC U18 Female Hockey team that will be participating in the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships which will be hosted in Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 7-14, 2023.  Maddy tried out for this team last year as an underage player and was rostered as an alternate player, meaning if another player was unable to make it, she would be able to attend.  The coaches told her that they hope to see her at next year's selection camp.  Let's hope she makes this team and is able to represent Nisga'a Nation.


I have attached some pictures, if you have any questions, please let me know.


Maria Niesh


Modal Title

Any content could go in here.