Yellowknife Bay on Great Slave Lake in September 2022. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Great Slave MLA Katrina Nokleby has introduced a private member’s bill proposing the name of the electoral district she represents be renamed “Tindee.”
“It is my hope that by introducing this private member’s bill, I can start a conversation with the public and Indigenous governments about the name of this constituency and how it could better represent residents, be more culturally inclusive, and avoid confusion outside of the territory,” Nokleby was quoted as saying in a news release.
Nokleby said “Tindee” means “big lake” in Tłı̨chǫ Yatıì. She said Tindee is only a suggestion, and that she’s open to other options if residents prefer another name.
Her private member’s bill comes after another MLA advocated in the legislature last week for the name of Great Slave Lake to be changed.
Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson used his time on Friday to ask for an update on the work underway to update to change colonial names used in the NWT, including Great Slave Lake and the regional names North Slave and South Slave. Great Slave Lake likely gets its name from a Cree word referring to Dene people as slaves.
When Johnson brought up the topic in May, culture minister RJ Simpson said the GNWT had received a request to change the lake’s name and work was “well under way” to consult communities and Indigenous governments.
“I do think probably the easiest change we could make to stop using what history have gone over, and many agree is a colonial name, would be to change the name of the North and South Slave regions. This actually could be done overnight; it does not require legislative changes. These are just administrative names we use for our regions,” Johnson said on Friday.
Premier Caroline Cochrane confirmed Simpson’s department is still working on the potential Great Slave Lake name change, telling Johnson, “[They are] currently doing a review of the geological place names for the Great Slave Lake.”
In Nokleby’s case, however, because she is suggesting changing the name of her electoral district she needs a private member’s bill to be passed in order to make the change in the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act. Like public bills, private bills must pass three readings to become law.
This is the first private member’s bill she has introduced in the legislature. A private member’s bill is brought forward by a regular MLA who is not a minister, and the bill is not allowed to involved spending public money or imposing a new tax on residents.