Arctic Inspiration Prize announces 10 finalists for up to $3 million in funding

The regional selection committee for the Arctic Inspiration Prize has announced ten projects shortlisted for their 2017 awards, including two finalists for a $1 million prize.

N.W.T. Indigenous wellness project, on the land food ambassadors program finalists for $1 million award

Former Governor General David Johnston presents the group Better Hearing in Education for Northern Youth with $300,000 of the Arctic Inspiration Prize money in January 2016. Up to $3 million is up for grabs among 10 groups for the 2017 awards, which will be presented in January. (Fred Cattroll)

The regional selection committee for the Arctic Inspiration Prize has announced ten projects shortlisted for the 2017 awards, including two finalists for a $1 million prize.

The Arctic Inspiration Prize awards up to $3 million in three categories to teams that have made a substantial contribution to the gathering of Arctic knowledge and who have created concrete plans to apply that knowledge to real-world applications affecting the Canadian Arctic and its people.

The prize has been awarded for the past five years, with the total amount of money distributed rising from $1 million to $1.5 million in 2015. This year, it was increased to up to $3 million.

The projects selected for the prize affect Northern communities in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Inuit Nunangat, which includes areas in Nunatsiavut, N.L.; Nunavik, Que.; Nunavut and the Inuvialuit region of the Northwest Territories.

The prize winners will be announced on Jan. 31, 2018 in Ottawa at the Arctic Inspiration Prize's sixth annual awards.

$1 million shortlist

The projects shortlisted for the the $1-million prize category are:

  • The Arctic Indigenous Wellness Project, led by Dr. Nicole Redvers.

A healing program for Inuit, First Nation and Métis who are at risk of suicide and/or incarceration in the Northwest Territories, the project aims to combine Indigenous cultural education and traditional interventions in a "wilderness urban setting."

  • From-the-land – Food Ambassadors Program, led by Jackoline Milne of the Northern Farming Training Institute.

This project, which impacts the Northwest Territories and Inuit Nunangat, helps food producers spread their knowledge and skills to people in the most remote parts of the Arctic.

$500,000 shortlist

The projects shortlisted for the category that awards up to $500,000 to up to four teams are:

  • Unaaq Men's Association of Inukjuak – Intensive Traditional Program Development, led by Tommy Palliser of the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board.

This program will pair young men with elders and hunters to promote intergenerational bonds, self-esteem and the sharing of traditional knowledge across the Nunavik region.

  • Our Families, Our Way: The Peacemaking Circle, led by Lori Duncan.

This project, based in the Yukon, will create a community-based peacemaking circle curriculum that will give people the skills to peacefully resolve disputes.

  • Inuinnait Ingilraatuqanit Ayuiqharvik – Inuinnait Cultural School led by Pamela Gross of the Kitikmeot Heritage Society.

This program wants to mobilize Inuinnait knowledge, which includes pre-history, history, geography and linguistics to create courses that will be delivered in Bathurst Inlet.

  • The Qajaq Program, led by Glen Brocklebank.

This program will teach the youth of Chesterfield Inlet to learn how to build and paddle qajaqs – kayaks constructed using Inuit methods – using the design from hundreds of years ago.

$100,000 shortlist (youth)

The projects shortlisted for the category that awards up to $100,000 to up to seven youth teams are:

  • Dene Heroes Publication Project, led by Dakota Orlias.

This project, which is based in the Northwest Territories, is helping young Dene people to put together a book that honours their Dene heroes.  

  • North in Focus: Nunavut, Our Land, Our People, led by Ashley Cummings.

This group is seeking funding to help prepare a nomination for a future prize year. That nomination will be for a program that aims to deliver mental health programming and help people receive mental health resources in Inuit Nunangat.

  • Rankin Rock Hockey Camp, led by David Clark.

This program will give youth in Inuit Nunangat the opportunity to work as coaches and leaders at a hockey camp, which will help develop their leadership skills.

  • Rivers to Ridges, led by Erin Nicolardi and Emily Payne.

This initiative, based in Yukon, will connect youth to the land and give access to a natural space for child-directed, emergent and inquiry-based learning.