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Cambridge Bay withdraws name change plebiscite

A planned community name change plebiscite to be held in conjunction with the municipal election in Cambridge Bay on Oct. 28 was withdrawn.

Cambridge Bay Mayor Pam Gross: "When vandalism starts it really affects everybody." photo courtesy of Pam Gross
Cambridge Bay Mayor Pamela Gross says more discussion in needed in regards to the standardization of the Inuit language before a vote is held on changing the name of Cambridge Bay to Iqaluktuuttiaq, or a variation thereof.
photo courtesy of Pam Gross

Based on input from residents, including elders, during community planning meetings, the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay was prepared to allow residents to vote on switching the community's name to Iqaluktuuttiaq, a traditional Inuit name meaning “place of many fish.”

However, there was some disagreement from other residents who insisted that Ikaluktutiak is the proper spelling.

Mayor Pamela Gross, who was re-elected in late October, said she and hamlet council decided that broader consultations should be held on spelling and pronunciation.

“That's one of the key areas, to have more discussion of what's changing in terms of government standardization (of language),” said Gross.

Asked for her personal preference on the name-change issue, Gross said it would be “evolving with our culture to better suit the needs of the longevity of our language.”

Cambridge Bay is named in honour of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge. Adolphus (February 24, 1774 – July 8, 1850) was the seventh son of England’s King George III.

Other Nunavut communities have reverted to Inuit names over the years such as Naujaat (formerly Repulse Bay), Qikiqtarjuaq (formerly Broughton Island) and Kugaaruk (formerly Pelly Bay).