LISTEN: Gwich’in Tribal Council Grand Chief reclaims traditional name

The Grand Chief of the Gwich'in Tribal Council, has reclaimed his traditional Gwich’in last name of Kyikavichik. Formerly known as Ken Smith, Kyikavichik made the change official in early march. (CKLB file photo.)

The Gwich’in Tribal Council Grand Chief announced he has reclaimed his traditional last name of Kyikavichik.

Formerly known as Ken Smith, Kyikavichik says he has reclaimed his traditional last name to pay honour to the Gwich’in language.

Kyikavichik means “Carry the arrow” in Gwich’in. It was changed to Kay or Kaye in the early 20th century as initial settlers and government officials to the area could not pronounce Kyikavichik.

“For us as Gwich’in to reclaim who we are as a people and we start that by changing the way in which we talk about it,” Kyikavichik wrote in a press release.

As a descendant of residential school survivors, the legal change of name for Kyikavichik was performed free of charge and was completed within a week in early March.

 

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Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at luke.carroll@cklbradio.com