Cape Dorset is one step closer to its name being officially recognized as Kinngait — one of its traditional names.
Kinngait means “where the hills are,” in Inuktitut, said the hamlet’s mayor, Timoon Toonoo.
The Nunavut community’s hamlet council passed two motions last Tuesday that pave the way for an official name change.
The first motion endorses the name Kinngait, which was chosen by Cape Dorset residents in a vote on Dec. 16, 2019. Kinngait got 80 votes, the name Sikusilaq received 51 votes, and the option to keep the English name Cape Dorset got 61 votes.
The second motion directs hamlet administration to send a letter to the minister of Community and Government Services requesting the community’s name be changed from Cape Dorset to Kinngait.
Now, “a by-law has to be passed, to change the municipality of Cape Dorset to the municipality of Kinngait, and if the council accepts the change, another by-law will have to be passed, after the Minister of Community and Government Services approves the request,” said Toonoo in Inuktitut.
Once all that is done, all of the hamlet’s documents will have to be changed to reflect the name change.
The community will be the eleventh in Nunavut to reclaim an Inuktut name. The most recent community to do this was Naujaat, which changed its name from Repulse Bay in 2015.
Written by Sidney Cohen, with files from Eva Michael
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Canadian Arctic territory sees 29 name changes after waiving fees to reclaim Indigenous names, Eye on the Arctic
Finland: Sámi reconciliation process gains final approval in Finland, Yle News
Norway: Political support for Norwegian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Russia removes critical voices ahead of Arctic Council chairmanship, claims Indigenous peoples expert, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Twenty-five Indigenous Sami remains returned by museum are reburied in northern Sweden, Radio Sweden
United States: Inuit leaders applaud UN move to designate International Decade of Indigenous Languages, Eye on the Arctic