Skip to content

More than just a T: GNWT formally recognizes preferred spelling of Dettah


The proper spelling of the community of Dettah should now be commonplace as the Government of the Northwest Territories announced on Wednesday that it is officially recognizing the proper form.

Sometimes spelled Detah in news reports or government documentation, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) have long pointed out that the word should be spelled with two t's.

A quick search on the Government of the Northwest Territories website shows examples where the misspelling is used in reference to the community, such as with the Dettah Ice Road or on NWT Fire maps.

YKDFN shared a letter sent to Dettah Chief Ed Sangris on Oct. 20 from R.J. Simpson, minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

"I am pleased to inform you and your Council that the preferred spelling of Dettah was approved by Cabinet on Sept. 17," Simpson wrote. "The official change from Detah to Dettah will come into effect on November 1, 2020."

Simpson added that he will be inform federal and territorial agencies about the proper spelling of the word in hopes of representing the community's name.

The full letter can be read below: