Northerners at the Indspire Awards in Winnipeg

The Indspire Awards, formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, feature several northerners this year, including a breakdancing troupe from Iqaluit.

Some breakdancers from Iqaluit are still excited about a recent trip to Winnipeg to perform at the Indspire Awards, formerly known as the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards. 

Four dancers were among several northerners at the awards ceremony on March 21. 

"It's always exhilarating,” said Christine Lamothe, who launched the dance troupe in 2007.

Lamothe said making a connection with other performers was a highlight. "From going from not knowing each other at all to crying because we're leaving each other at the end of the week. It's pretty moving.”

The awards celebrate aboriginal achievement in many areas including the arts, business and science.

Three northerners received awards this year.

James Eetoolook

James Eetoolook received a lifetime achievement award.

The vice-president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. received a lifetime achievement award. Eetoolook is originally from Taloyoak. He was involved in the negotiation of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and is past president of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association. Eetoolook has been especially active on issues relating to wildlife and the environment -- in particular, promoting the Inuit right to hunt polar bears and use traditional Inuit knowledge to manage bear populations.

Sarah Arngna'naaq

Sarah Arnga’naaq, originally from Baker Lake, Nunavut, is a young lawyer living and working in Yellowknife. (Robert Lowdon)

Originally from Baker Lake, Nunavut, Sarah Arnga’naaq is now based in Yellowknife as a Crown prosecutor with the Nunavut office of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. Arnga’naaq earned a law degree from the University of Victoria in 2012, articled with the Northwest Territories' Department of Justice, and completed two internships abroad, in Ghana, West Africa and in Wellington, New Zealand. On March 21, she received a youth award. 

Charlie Snowshoe

Charlie Snowshoe received an award for his stewardship of land and water in the Beaufort Delta. (Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board)

Charlie Snowshoe of the Gwich'in First Nation in the Northwest Territories received an award for his work in the field of environment and natural resources. Snowshoe, of Fort McPherson, has been a fierce and articulate advocate for the stewardship of land and water in the Beaufort Delta.

He helped lead the drive to protect the peel and the protests when the Yukon government refused to follow recommendations that 80 per cent of the watershed be set aside. He was also involved in protecting the Porcupine caribou and land claim efforts with the Dene, Metis and Gwich’in.

Snowshoe also set an example by being a sober leader.