Frequently Asked Questions

To improve service, the YNLC offers here the most frequently requested information. If your questions are not answered here or in any other part of this web site, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Names and Songs are Private Property

The YNLC does not distribute names or songs as these are privately owned.

Generally speaking, in the Yukon, personal names in First Nations languages are private property. They are greatly valued and have profound cultural importance. Great care is given in the way names are preserved and passed down. Often, a new born will receive the name of an ancestor. The name may be conferred in a ceremony by a family elder. No one has a right to give away a name except the family which owns it.

The Yukon Native Language Centre frequently receives requests for aboriginal names for pets. The centre does not have the right to pass on names in this way and does not do so. It is possible to provide a word from a First Nations language, which is not used as a name in the culture, but which may be attractive to non-natives as a name for a pet. For instance, since no native person would be called "Snowflake", YNLC can provide the word "Snowflake" to be used as a name without violating any traditional rules, practices or values. The list below offers some words like this.

The Centre works constantly with elders and speakers of First Nations Languages. Often, on request from the elders, personal names may be collected and transcribed in the modern alphabet. Sometimes these names will appear in the proceedings from literacy workshops. Such names only appear by permission of their owners. The intention is to honour the names by preserving them. These names may not be used by any other person in any way, without permission of their owners.

First Nations songs are also private property. No one may perform or record them without permission of their owner. In a sense, Yukon First Nations names and songs are copyrighted.

Suggested Names

If you wish to give your pet a name from a Yukon language, try one of these

The words below are from Yukon First Nations languages. They are not the names of people. They are words or phrases which the centre is often asked to provide for use in the naming of a non-native pet. Use of these words as names does not reflect traditional First Nations practice. But as the use does promote awareness of the languages and the cultures it may be regarded as a positive thing.

  Southern Tutchone Gwich'in Tlingit
Snowflake Yäwdân Zhohchùu  
She/He is brave Uyinjí Nàtsät Yeenjit Jiintl'oh  
Spot Späda Shùh  
The Watchful One K’anéta Khà’oodaa’in  
The Helpful One Ts’änànji Gwits’at tr’iinjii  
The Quiet One Tsèn nli Vizhik Kwaa  
She/He is fast Dädzat Han Nahdaghal  
My Friend Älaya Shijàa  
Little Star Thèna San' Tsal  
Wolf Ägay Zhòh Ghùch
Dog Tli Laii Kètl
Coyote Tlilet "useless dog" Zhòh Tsal Kayûdi
Charcoal, Black Jänàch’är Dhazraih T’úch’
Little Lynx/Cat Not permissible. Niinjii Tsal  

Season's Greetings in Yukon Languages

Southern Tutchone (Margaret Workman)
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year
Northern Tutchone (Anne Ranigler)
Merry Christmas .
Happy New Year
Gwich'in (Mary Jane Kunnizzi)
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year
Tlingit (Emma Sam)
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year
Kaska (Testloa George Smith)
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year
Hän (Percy Henry)
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year
Tagish
Merry Christmas .
  Upper Tanana (no sound files)
Merry Christmas .

Common Expressions in Yukon Languages

Good
Southern Tutchone
Margaret Workman
Northern Tutchone
Gertie Tom
Tagish
Lucy Wren
Kaska
Testloa George Smith
Tlingit
Sam Johnston
Gwich'in
Lorraine Peter
Hän
Percy Henry
or
Upper Tanana
no sound file
Welcome — Good To See You!
Southern Tutchone
Aishihik

We are happy to see (all of) you.
Northern Tutchone
Big Salmon

We are happy to see (all of) you.
Tagish
Tagish

It is good to see (all of) you.
Kaska
Ross River

It is good to see (all of) you.
Tlingit
Teslin

It is good to see you.
Gwich'in
Old Crow

We are happy to see (all of) you.
Hän
Dawson City

We are happy to see (all of) you.
Upper Tanana
Beaver Creek

We are happy to see (all of) you.
How Are You?
Southern Tutchone
Margaret Workman
Northern Tutchone
Gertie Tom
Tagish
Lucy Wren
Kaska
Testloa George Smith
Tlingit
Sam Johnston
Gwich'in
Lorraine Peter
Hän
Percy Henry
Upper Tanana
no sound file
 
Thank You
Southern Tutchone
Margaret Workman
Northern Tutchone
Gertie Tom
Tagish
Lucy Wren
Kaska
Testloa George Smith
Tlingit
Sam Johnston
Gwich'in
Lorraine Peter
Hän
Percy Henry
or
Upper Tanana
 
I speak Native Language
Southern Tutchone
Margaret Workman
  
Northern Tutchone
Gertie Tom
Tagish
Lucy Wren
Kaska
Testloa George Smith
Tlingit
Sam Johnston
(Yes, I know Tlingit)
Gwich'in
Lorraine Peter
Hän
Percy Henry
Upper Tanana
no sound file

The Media on the YNLC

Reports in the local media on YNLC activities and programs.

Activities Reports

Twice per year the YNLC reports on its activities.

Naming Ayamdagoot Campus

The late highly respected Tagish elder Angela Sidney named the new campus of Yukon College Ayamdagoot when it opened in 1988.

The late highly respected Tagish elder Angela Sidney named the new campus of Yukon College Ayamdagoot when it opened in 1988. In an interview with Lisa Tremblay, published December 1988 in The Optimst, Mrs. Sidney speaks about the origin of the name.

Q. What was the name you gave to the new Yukon College?

Mrs. Sidney: Ayamdagoot. It means, "it took off from the place where it was". At the beginning I understand it was going to be built in the riverside. Well, I had a name, a name for the riverside too. But since they move it, I gave it a name: my niece's Indian name, Shirley Lindstrom. She passed away about two months ago I guess. That was her Indian name.

My father's people, Dahkl'awèdí, Wolf people, they build a killer whale house across the river there. And then they move it further back because they found it was too close to the edge of the bank. And when they were having potlatch for the house, they name the child Adax.Ayamdagoot. It means "it took off from there", "it moved", "it walked away".

That's why I gave it that name. And I didn't say the full name. I just said, Ayamdagoot. It means, "it moved", "it walked away".

And so I asked her sisters if it was O.K. and they said it was O.K. They liked it. They'd be proud of it. They'd be glad. It's going to be just like she's living yet! They hear the name, see. That's what I tell them and that's the way I feel about it too.