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Ceremony held to change derogatory name of Sask. lakes

Killsquaw Lake has been renamed to honour Indigenous women who lost their lives near Unity in the 19th century.
Killsquaw Lake has been renamed to honour Indigenous women who lost their lives near Unity in the 19th century. Saskatchewan Government / Supplied

A set of Saskatchewan lakes no longer has a derogatory name and that change was highlighted on Tuesday.

Kikiskitotawânawak Iskêwak, the new name for Killsquaw Lake near Unity, Sask., translates to “we remember the women” or “we honour the women.”

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A formal renaming ceremony was held on June 11.

Kellie Wuttunee, a lawyer from Red Pheasant First Nation, applied for the change under the Heritage Property Act. Killsquaw was harmful and undermined the pride and self-esteem of Indigenous people, she said.

“With actions like this, we are reminding each other and telling the world that we can learn from our mistakes and move forward together,” Wuttunee said in a press release on Nov. 20, 2018, when the change was first announced.

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“To properly respect and honour Indigenous women, we should no longer have denigrating place names in Saskatchewan or Canada.”

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The new name honours Cree women who lost their lives near the town in the 19th century with the language and culture of those being commemorated.

Unity is roughly 175 kilometres west of Saskatoon.