North

Arctic Inspiration Prize awards $3 million to 8 recipients

The awards, broadcast Friday evening on CBC and APTN, are Canada’s largest annual prize. It provides seed funding to new and innovative projects that improve the lives of people in the North.

It's the second year in a row AIP has awarded $3 million

Members of the Indigenous Community Safety Partner Program react upon hearing they won a $500,000 Arctic Inspiration Prize for their Indigenous-led training, certification and mentorship program that is designed to help Yukon First Nations address the root causes of inter-generational trauma, violence and vulnerability. (Arctic Inspiration Prize)

More than $3 million was awarded to eight organizations across the North as part of the 10th annual Arctic Inspiration Prize.

The awards, broadcast Friday evening on CBC and APTN, are Canada's largest annual prize. It provides seed funding to new and innovative projects that improve the lives of people in the North.

Artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and musician William Greenland hosted the virtual ceremony from opposite sides of the country — she was in Iqaluit and he was in B.C. — but that didn't prevent the ceremony from having an intimate and celebratory feel.

William Greenland, left, and Nunavut artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory hosted the 10th annual Arctic Inspiration prize. The virtual ceremony was broadcast on APTN and CBC Friday night. (Arctic Inspiration Prize)

Ilagiitigut anngiangijaqatigiinnirq ilurqusivuttigut was awarded the $1 million grand prize for its project to build a 32-bed facility in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, in northern Quebec. This will support families who are following an addiction recovery program together. 

The project aims to blend best practices in the field of addiction with Inuit traditional knowledge, values and culture by bringing together Elders, addiction counsellors, hunters, scholars and community members to address the root causes of addiction, including intergenerational trauma.

Members of Ilagiitigut anngiangijaqatigiinnirq ilurqusivuttigut, which was awarded the $1 million grand prize, react upon hearing the news. Co-team leaders Sarah May and George Kauki are in the top right frame. (Arctic Inspiration Prize)

"We're very grateful that we're recognized," said George Kauki, co-team leader, adding it was the third year in a row the project was nominated for the grand prize. "We're really glad our determination paid off."

"It's really good news for the region and for Inuit people," added Sarah May, also a co-team leader. "It's going to give a lot of hope for the region, for people who are seeking help and knowing that there's a place that they can go to and get help."

$500,000 prizes

Prizes of up to $500,000 were awarded to five groups and two prizes of up to $100,000 were awarded to youth groups.

The Indigenous Community Safety Partnership Program, in Yukon, was awarded $500,000. Its first-of-its-kind Indigenous-led training, certification and mentorship is designed to help Yukon First Nations address the root causes of inter-generational trauma, violence, and vulnerability.

The program helps First Nations governments own, implement and sustain community safety, emergency preparedness, and justice initiatives. 

The Yukon duo Dena Zagi, Jennifer Fröhling and Dennis Shorty, performed at the 10th annual Arctic Inspiration Prize, broadcast Friday night on APTN and CBC. (Arctic Inspiration Prize)

Supporting Wellbeing, an N.W.T. organization which was also awarded $500,000, will use the prize money to develop a program that provides tools and resources for people who deliver land-based programming to better prepare them to respond to mental health challenges in remote environments.

The Tuktoyaktuk Community Climate Resiliency Project was awarded $500,000 to help prepare the community of about 1,000 to make difficult decisions about climate change, including the possibility of relocating. 

The Hope House team in Inuvik, N.W.T., was awarded $495,000 so it can provide supports to its clients that are experiencing homelessness, a growing issue in the community of just over 3,000. The supports include mental health counselling, referrals to rehabilitation, social housing programs and labour market opportunities.

PIQSIQ, two Inuit sisters from Yellowknife, performed at the 10th annual Arctic Inspiration Prize. (Arctic Inspiration Prize)

Fish Camp at Happy's Landing, on the shores of Teetł'it Gwinjik (Peel River) in the Northwest Territories, was awarded $95,000 to host a traditional camp for people from any culture to learn traditional activities including fishing. Camp participants will share the dryfish they produce among themselves and with Gwich'in families and Elders in the community.

The two teams that were awarded $100,000 in the youth category are Indigenous Youth River Guide Training and the Treaty Talks team.

Indigenous Youth River Guide Training will teach Yukon and N.W.T. youth land-based skills — including flatwater and whitewater canoeing, wilderness medicine and whitewater rescue — to help them improve their self-esteem, leadership and self-determination, while helping them become wilderness guides. Meanwhile, the Treaty Talk team will create an On the Land Treaty Education camp for youth, Elders and community members across the N.W.T.

The Treaty Talks team won a $100,000 Arctic Inspiration youth prize for their project that will create an On the Land Treaty Education camp for youth, elders and community members across the N.W.T. (Arctic Inspiration Prize)

The awards ceremony also included performances from Yukon's Dena Zagi, PIQSIQ, who are two Inuit sisters from Yellowknife, and the Huqqullaaqatigiit Drum Dancers from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. 

The AIP is funded by its charitable trust, which has an endowment of approximately $50 million.

Over the past 10 years, AIP has given almost $20 million to about 50 recipients, according to Wally Schumann, chair of the AIP Charitable Trust and N.W.T. trustee for the prize.

"Out of those winners, there is a total impact to the laureates of close to $15 million annually that's been generated towards them," he said.

With files from Matisse Harvey

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