The following is taken from the announcement sent out by YK1 Chairperson Tracey Brookes
“The Board of Trustees of Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (YK1) is excited to announce Įtłʼǫ̀ (pronounced EE-k-lo) as the name for its new school. Construction of the school is well underway on 51A Avenue, the site where École J.H. Sissons stood from 1975 until its closing in June 2020. YK1 expects to open its new school to students in August 2022.
The name Įtłʼǫ̀ which means cranberry in Wiiliideh, was presented to the Board by a naming committee that was comprised of current and former school staff, parents, and community members. Indigenous leaders were also consulted and participated in the naming process. One of the primary goals of the committee was to present a name that aligns with YK1’s core values and commitment to reconciliation.
The name Įtłʼǫ̀ is significant because of its connection to the land. The site on which the school will sit used to be a common berry picking area for Wiiliideh Yellowknives families. In the summer, families would travel there to harvest plants and berries to ensure their survival for the year. Cranberries were popular because they are so full of vitamins, they can be dried or powdered, and they could be used as medicine to treat colds and indigestion.
For these families, there was a spiritual significance to cranberries. For generations, families would visit their favourite patches in order to provide for their loved ones. At the same time, they would make respectful offerings to the land in the form of tobacco or coins as an act of reciprocity. Many Dene people will have memories of picking berries with their aunts, uncles, or grandparents. YK1 believes that schools are an integral part of the fabric of our community. School names are symbols of what the community stands for and values. In turn, students begin to identify as a community under their school’s name. YK1 is excited to announce this new name to the community and have it stand for years to come.”