2nd N.W.T. mother demands traditional name for daughter

A second mother from the Northwest Territories says she also had to change the spelling of her daughter's name after the vital statistics office wouldn't allow her to use a glottal stop, part of her traditional aboriginal language.

Like Shene Catholique Valpy, Andrea Heron had to change spelling to register birth

Andrea Heron says six years ago, she had to use a hyphen in her daughter's name Sakaeʔah in order to register her birth​ in the Northwest Territories. (submitted by Andrea Heron)
A second mother from the Northwest Territories says she had to change the spelling of her daughter's name after the vital statistics office wouldn't allow her to use a glottal stop, part of her traditional language.

Andrea Heron says six years ago, she had to use a hyphen in her daughter's name, Sakaeʔah, in order to register her birth​.

Sakaeʔah means "when the sun rises, first peaks, a new day" in South Slavey.

Recently, Shene Catholique Valpy's daughter went a year without a birth certificate because the office wouldn't allow the traditional Chipewyan spelling of her name using a glottal stop. 

Heron says she plans to support Catholique Valpy in the complaint process.

"I would absolutely love to see the changes implemented so the traditional names can be spelled properly and they don't have to be compromised," she said.

"I think it's a part of my daughter's cultural identity and who she is as a person and I think having to compromise that takes away from that for her."

Heron says Dene languages are dying and need to be preserved.  

"I found it frustrating that they had the resources to support the French culture and the French [language] but they didn't have the resources to support the Dene [languages] which they acknowledge as an official language of the N.W.T."​

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