Name Change Honours Indigenous Women's Story in Saskatchewan History
A grouping of small lakes near the Town of Unity has a new name to respectfully honour Indigenous culture and history in our province. Replacing the previous name of Killsquaw Lake, the new name given by area Elders is Kikiskitotawânawak Iskêwak Lakes, which in Cree means We Honour the Women.
“The names of Saskatchewan’s geographic features can truly reflect our shared heritage and leave a lasting legacy for future generations,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Gene Makowsky said. “This change will recognize and honour the Cree women who lost their lives in this area in the 19th century with a name that better reflects the language and culture of those being commemorated.”
Kellie Wuttunee from the Red Pheasant First Nation (Mikisiwacik) submitted the nomination for the name change.
“To properly respect and honour Indigenous women, we should no longer have denigrating place names in Saskatchewan or Canada,” Wuttunee said. “The previous name was harmful and undermined the pride and self-esteem of Indigenous people. By changing the name, we are giving a voice to the ones who were silenced. Words are powerful. Names are powerful. They inform our identity. With actions like this, we are reminding each other and telling the world that we can learn from our mistakes and move forward together.”
The Geographic Names Program is responsible for the official naming of all geographic features in the province. Today, there are approximately 14,000 official names of populated places, geographic features, parks and reserves in Saskatchewan.
To learn more about the program visit www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/parks-recreation-heritage-and-arts/heritage/propose-a-new-geographic-place-name.