Dettah’s six streets and one road may soon receive names, having been nameless since they were first built, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation said.
The community has had discussions about naming its roads in the past, said Dettah Chief Edward Sangris, recalling a similar proposal in the 1990s when, he said, the community only had two roads.
At that time, community members were split on whether to name the roads after animals – the fox, the beaver, the wolverine – or prominent members of the community.
“It’s advancement all right,” said Sangris of the community’s growth to around 220 residents and six streets today.
“A lot of people are starting to realize that, yeah, we should start naming the streets after the dominant people – like down in Ndilo,” he added.
For example, the main road into the community could become Chief Drygeese Road after the First Nation’s chief during the time of Treaty 8’s signing in 1900.
While homes in the community are numbered, there are currently no street names. Sangris said community members don’t have a problem with this – if they don’t know where to head, directions are given according to areas where different families live.
Instead, organizations like Canada Post and the federal government (for example, during the census) would make the most use of the new names.
“We haven’t even started talking about it,” Sangris said.
A Facebook post by the First Nation earlier this week raised the prospect of road names being introduced.
A discussion will first be held between Elders, said Sangris, then advanced to the First Nation’s membership. Finally, it will be discussed by chief and council.
Members are set to be asked, during that process, to suggest prominent current and former community members who could be celebrated through road names.