10 northern projects take centre stage as Arctic Inspiration Prize announces finalists

Ten northern projects have a chance to get a big funding boost, as the annual Arctic Inspiration Prize has announced its 2018 finalists.

Up to $3M to be awarded on Feb. 12

Last year's $100,000 Arctic Inspiration Prize was awarded to Whitehorse-based Rivers to Ridges, to develop a forest school program for preschoolers. (Arctic Inspiration Prize)

Ten northern projects have a chance to get a big funding boost, as the annual Arctic Inspiration Prize has announced its 2018 finalists.

The Arctic Inspiration Prize is the largest prize in Canada dedicated to awarding projects that serve the Canadian Arctic.

It awards up to $3 million to teams in three categories — the $1 million category, the AIP category, which awards as much as $500,000, and the youth category, which awards up to $100,000.

The winners will be announced Feb. 12 at the Arctic Inspiration Prize awards ceremony in Whitehorse.

Who could win $1M?

Three projects are in the running for the $1 million category this year, including Northern Compass, a pan-territorial program to help northerners transition into post-secondary education and careers.

Karen Aglukark, third from the left, is in the running to win $1 million for Northern Compass, a project she is helping lead. (Submitted by Karen Aglukark)

Karen Aglukark, a psychology student in Ottawa, is one of the project's leaders.

She's originally from Arviat, and said a program like Northern Compass would have been a help to her when she started school. She remembers feeling lost during her first year of university and attributes her academic success to the fact that she's stubborn, and wouldn't quit.

"Coming from an isolated community, you never feel quite as alone as you do when you are a young kid from Nunavut alone in the big city for the first time," she said.

Also in the running for the top prize is Pirurvik — A Place to Grow: Early Childhood Education for Nunavummiut.

That's an early-childhood education program based in Nunavut that provides culturally relevant programming.

Uqarluta Inuinnaqtun — Let's Speak Inuinnaqtun is the third project vying for $1 million.

That's a language revitalization program that would include full-time immersion in Inuinnaqtun in each participating community, a mentor/apprentice program and a program to document the language.

$500K finalists

There are fives projects shortlisted for prizes up to $500,000, including:

  • Nunami Sukuijainiq: A Youth Arctic Ecology Land Camp Program

This program, based in Nunavik and Nunavut, pairs elders and researchers with Inuit youth to stimulate an interest in science.

  • Nunavut Law Program

This program provides Nunavut-based legal education to Nunavummiut.

  • Tr'ondek Hwech'in Teaching and Working Farm Extended-Season Greenhouse Construction

This project, which aims to construct an extended-season greenhouse that would sustain local food production for up to 10 months per year, is the first of its kind in Yukon.

  • Traditional Techniques Tweaked to Galvanize Indigenous Northern Artisans

This program is based in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and Gwich'in Settlement Area. It would be an association for artists and crafters to develop their businesses.

  • Transforming Lateral Violence

This program, based in Yukon is aimed at decreasing lateral violence within Indigenous communities in Yukon.

Youth Category

Two projects are in the running for up to $100,000:

  • From Scrap to Art

Youth in Cambridge Bay are aiming to help Northerners develop skills by welding scrap metal into pieces of art.

  • Truth & Reconciliation: A Call to Action from Youth/Millenials

This project aims to address the concerns of Yukon youth by providing guidance and recommendations to the government.