The Indigenous Bar Association Applauds the Name Change of
“Killsquaw Lake” to Kikiskisitotawanawak Iskwêwak Lakes in Saskatchewan
OTTAWA, ON – The Indigenous Bar Association (IBA) applauds the efforts in Saskatchewan to change the name of “Killsquaw Lake” to Kikiskisitotawanawak Iskwêwak Lakes (which translates to “We honour the women” Lakes in nehiyawewin (Cree)). The lake is east of Unity and one hour southwest of the Battlefords in Saskatchewan. The efforts of local nehiyawak (Cree people) contributed to the long overdue change in the name and reflects efforts of the people in Saskatchewan to promote and advance good relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in that province.
Nominator Kellie Wuttunee, a lawyer from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation said “to properly respect and honour Indigenous women, we should no longer have denigrating place names in Saskatchewan or Canada. 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.” She added, “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.”
IBA President Scott Robertson said, “the Government of Saskatchewan understands that this name change recognizes the intent of the original name to honour the group of nehiyaw-iskwêwak (Cree women) who were killed at or near the site in the 19th century.” Robertson continued, “although this tragedy never should have occurred in the first place, we commend the effort of the Government of Saskatchewan to address the effect that the name had on local Indigenous peoples.”
The IBA would like to acknowledge the dedication of Ms. Wuttunee, who is also an IBA Member and former Director, for incorporating ceremony and protocol into this name change. IBA Secretary and Treasurer, Brooks Arcand-Paul added, “this name change reflects the nehiyaw (Cree) legal principle of miyo-wicehtowin, or “good relations”. The IBA looks forward to the dialogue that will continue between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Saskatchewan.”
The Indigenous Bar Association is a national association comprised of Indigenous lawyers (practicing and non-practicing), legal academics and scholars, articling clerks and law students, including graduate
and post-graduate law students. We are mandated to promote the advancement of legal and social justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada and the reform of laws and policies affecting Indigenous peoples.
For further information contact Scott Robertson, President of the Indigenous Bar Association at firstname.lastname@example.org and 705-325- 0520 or visit our website at www.indigenousbar.ca.