It has been his dream since he was a younger grownup to alter his title to at least one that is belonged to his household for generations however was obscured by early settlers.
And now its official: The grand chief of the Gwich’in Tribal Council will go by the title Ken Kyikavichik.
“I made a decision after getting elected, that was one thing that I’d lastly observe by means of on,” he stated.
“The explanation that it is vital was the truth that the historical past of the title is that it was modified by the early settlers into the realm right here. They could not pronounce ‘Kyikavichik.’ And they also ended up altering and shortening it to ‘Kay.'”
He introduced the change from Ken Smith at a current Gwich’in particular meeting in Inuvik, N.W.T.
The title means “carry the arrow.”
Kyikavichik stated one among his ancestors, who was too younger to hunt as a boy, used to observe his father across the village asking if he may carry the arrow.
“After that, they began calling him Kyikavichik. And naturally, the title caught and his descendants had been Kyikavichik,” he stated.
“When the early settlers got here, they sometimes took our names and made them our final names, after which supplied the anglicized names for the primary names. And so John, Mary, Robert … these are widespread names in our communities.”
Significance for language
His great-grandfather, Johnny Kyikavichik Sr., was Head man (second in command) to Chief Julius Salu of the Tetlit Gwich’in, a signatory to Treaty 11.
Kyikavichik additionally had an uncle by the identical title, Chief Johnny Kyikavichik, who wished to alter his final title as properly, earlier than he handed away final yr.
Since this yr marks the centennial anniversary for Treaty 11, the grand chief stated it is particularly vital to reclaim his conventional title.
“These are simply a number of the issues that I assumed I wanted to do to not solely let folks know the place and who I am from, but in addition to underpin the significance of our Gwich’in language, which is struggling,” he stated.
“We have got a declining variety of fluent audio system of the Gwich’in language. And it is vital that we promote our language and do what we are able to to enhance the extent of fluency amongst our communities.”