Nunavut – Inuktut on the rise | Polarjournal
Nunavut’s Minister of Community and Government Services has signed off on changing Cape Dorset’s name to Kinngait following the results of recent referendums. (Stock photo: Ansgar Walk, WikiCommons CC BY-SA 2.5)

Two Nunavut communities will officially revert to their traditional names. This was announced by Nunavut Minister of Community and Government Services Lorne Kusugak on February 27, 2020. He informed the Legislative Assembly that he had signed the name change from Cape Dorset to Kinngait and the change from Hall Beach to Sanirajak that morning.

Nunavut, literally “Our Land,” was separated from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, and has since formed a separate territory. Although it is part of the Canadian federal government, the creation of Nunavut was based on the idea of allowing the Inuit to govern this territory with relative autonomy. (Graphic: Heiner Kubny)

Both Hall Beach and Cape Dorset held referendums in the winter of 2019/20 to return to their their traditional names. “Effective immediately, Hall Beach will be renamed as Sanirajak and Cape Dorset will now be called Kinngait. My colleagues will be celebrating the event with the communities of Sanirajak and Kinngait. celebrate,” Kusugak said.

Approximately 42 percent of Cap Dorset residents voted in favor of the name “Kinngait” in the community’s referendum. Both “Cape Dorset” and and another traditional name “Sikusiilaq” were on the ballot there.

In Hall Beach, more than two-thirds would have voted for the name Sanirajak. (Archive photo: Ansgar Walk, WikiCommons CC BY-SA 2.5)

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. has encouraged communities in the territory that still use English names to consider switching to their original Inuktut names.

The communities with English names and their traditional Inuktut names are listed below:

  • Cambridge Bay (Iqaluktuuttiaq)
  • Gjoa Haven (Uqsuqtuuq)
  • Baker Lake (Qamani’tuaq)
  • Chesterfield Inlet (Igluligaarjuk)
  • Rankin Inlet (Kangiqliniq)
  • Whale Cove (Tikirarjuaq)
  • Coral Harbour (Salliq)
  • Clyde River (Kangiqtugaapik)
  • Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik)
  • Arctic Bay (Ikpiarjuk or Tununirusiq)
  • Grise Fiord (Ausuittuq)
  • Resolute Bay (Qausuittuq)

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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