A screengrab from the territorial government's webpage related to the waiving of name change fees.
The NWT government is permanently waiving the change of name fee for Indigenous residents who want to reclaim their traditional names.
“By waiving the change of name fee, we are removing barriers for individuals to reconnect with their cultural heritage by reclaiming their names,” said Julie Green, the minister of health and social services, as quoted in a news release announcing the waiver on Tuesday.
“This initiative recognizes the intergenerational impacts of residential schools and affirms our dedication to healing and moving forward together.”
However, residents still cannot use diacritics – characters with special marks which change the pronounciation, such as some of the characters found in “Łútsël K’é” – or glyphs, such as the glottal stop (ʔ), in their name spelling.
“There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to implement [special characters], and it involves a coordinated approach between the NWT, and federal and provincial partners,” explained a GNWT spokesperson.
“We need to ensure that any technical changes to electronic systems in the NWT, Canada and internationally avoid unintended barriers for residents. We would not want residents to be negatively impacted, for example, when accessing medical care in other jurisdictions or applying for federal documents like a Social Insurance Number or passport.”