Hastings Arm, Observatory Inlet

Hastings Arm, Observatory Inlet

by | Apr 28, 2019

Hastings Arm is a fjord and the northwest arm of Observatory Inlet on the north coast of British Columbia. Observatory Inlet is approximately 31 miles (50 km) long, running south-southwest to Portland Canal just southwest of Nass Bay. At the north end of Observatory Inlet are two main branches, Hastings Arm is approximately 19 miles (30 km) long from where Observatory Inlet diverges near Anyox, and Alice Arm branches off towards the northeast for 16 miles (25 km). At the head of Hastings Arm is the mouth of the Kshwan River and the historical Nisga’a village of Kswan.

Hastings Arm was named by Captain Daniel Pender in 1869 after Rear Admiral George Fowler Hastings who was the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Station from 1866 to 1869. The Nisga’a name for Hastings Arm is K’alii Kshwan meaning “upriver water teeth” literally, and which is a reference to Tseemsim (the grandfather of the Nisga’a) cupping his hands to take a drink from the Kshwan River and finding it so cold it hurt his teeth.

This area is also the location of K’ipmats’iskw, which in the oral history of the Nisga’a, was the mountain where the ancestors of the Nisga’a took refuge from the Great Flood at the end of the Ice Age. The inlet and estuary were historically so rich in resources that they were used in common by all the Nisga’a prior to the arrival of Europeans. Read more here and here. Explore more of Hastings Arm here:

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