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From French Esclave from Cree

A euphemism for Slave (French Esclave), originally a translation of the Cree word for slave, an appellation the Cree gave several of their traditional enemies. In English, the final e came to be pronounced as if Slave were a native name; this pronunciation was first written Slavé and later Slavey.

The names of the Slave River, Lesser Slave River, Great Slave Lake and Lesser Slave Lake do not necessarily derive from the people now known as Slavey in English.

Alternative formsEdit


Proper nounEdit


  1. An Athabascan First Nations people indigenous to the region near the Great Slave Lake in western Canada
    Synonyms: Awokanak, Deh Cho, Deh Gah Got'ine
  2. A language spoken by the Slavey peoples.

Usage notesEdit

Many of the Slavey people consider this term derogatory, as it originated from their enemies, and derived from slave. There is no specific term for this grouping in Dene (Athabaskan), the individual Slavey groups each have their own terms for each group of people and their neighbours. The language is also divided into North Slavey and South Slavey and not identified as a unit in Dene.

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