by Tina Olivero

    Arctic Inspiration Prize: Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

    For the second year in a row, the Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP) has awarded over $3 million to 8 remarkable teams across the North for their groundbreaking and creative projects. The prizes were awarded tonight in a special 10th-anniversary ceremony broadcast across the country on both APTN and CBC.

    “As the AIP celebrates 10 years of by the North, for the North impact, we are so honored to recognize these 8 teams for their innovation, creativity, and dedication to their communities,” said Wally Schumann, Chair of the Arctic Inspiration Prize Charitable Trust. “What’s more, this investment of over $3 million will unlock so many more contributions from project partners from across the North and South who have already committed to supporting these important initiatives, bringing the total project value to over $5.8 million for these laureates.”

    The $1 million prize went to Ilagiitigut anngiangijaqatigiinnirq ilurqusivuttigut for their project that seeks to bring together elders, addiction counselors, hunters, scholars, and community members to address the root causes of addiction – including intergenerational trauma – through Inuit values and culture. This ambitious initiative will support families following the recovery program together in a new 32-bed facility.

    “We feel so honored that Ilagiitigut anngiangijaqatigiinnirq ilurqusivuttigut was chosen by the National Selection Committee as an Arctic Inspiration Prize laureate,” says George Kauki, co-team leader. “Not only will the $1 million prize provide us with what we need to make our project happen, but the recognition that comes with being chosen by such an esteemed group of people from across the North means so much to us.”

    “Ilagiitigut anngiangijaqatigiinnirq ilurqusivuttigut has the potential to breathe new life into families in need. We are very excited to get work underway,” added Sarah May, co-team leader.

    In addition to the $1 million prize, five prizes were awarded in the AIP category awards up to $500,000 to each laureate team, and two prizes were awarded in the Youth category, worth up to $100,000 each.

    Fish Camp at Happy’s Landing was awarded $95,000 to host a traditional camp offering young people, elders, and others the opportunity to learn traditional activities including fishing. The dry fish produced will be shared among camp attendees and also with Gwich’in families and elders in the community who cannot make their own.

    The Hope House team was awarded $495,000 to provide clients experiencing homelessness with support including mental health counseling and referrals to rehabilitation, social housing programs, and labor market opportunities.

    Looking to empower Yukon First Nations, Indigenous Community Safety Partnership Program was awarded $500,000 to address the root causes of inter-generational trauma, violence, and vulnerability, through first-of-its-kind Indigenous-led training, certification, and mentorship that enables First Nations governments to own, implement and sustain community safety, emergency preparedness, and justice initiatives.

    Supporting Wellbeing was awarded $500,000 to develop a training program that will provide tools and resources for people who deliver land-based programming that will better prepare them to mitigate and respond to mental health challenges in remote environments.

    The final laureate in the AIP category is Tuktoyaktuk Community Climate Resiliency Project. This team was awarded $500,000 to help prepare the community to make difficult decisions regarding climate change, including possible relocation. The project will build capacity and knowledge to stimulate the resilience of the people and future generations.

    In the Youth category, two teams were awarded prizes for their creative and resourceful projects.

    Indigenous Youth River Guide Training was awarded $100,000 to remove barriers and create opportunities for youth to learn land-based skills such as flatwater and whitewater canoeing, wilderness medicine, and whitewater rescue training in order to become wilderness guides. Their goal is to improve self-esteem, leadership, and self-determination, and expose youth to potential career opportunities all while centering on Indigenous languages and knowledge.

    Finally, the Treaty Talks team was awarded $100,000 to bring education back to the land by creating an On the Land Treaty Education Camp for youth, elders, and community members.

    The AIP is proud to have worked with Leela Gilday as artistic director and Indigenous production company Animiki See Digital Production produce this year’s special 10th-anniversary awards ceremony, which included past finalists laureates in every aspect of the show. A very special thank you to our hosts Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and William Greenland for giving this ceremony an intimate and celebratory feel, despite filming on opposite sides of the country. The awards ceremony also included performances from northern performers, PIQSIQ (NWT/Nunavut), Dena Zagi (Yukon), and the Huqqullaaqatigiit Drum Dancers (Nunavut).

    We also want to thank all the awards presenters and speakers who gave their time to recognize this year’s winners, the AIP laureates that participated in the special 10th-anniversary retrospectives, as well as the northern artists who contributed one of kind pieces to each of the winning teams. Finally, thank you to APTN and CBC for their work in bringing the AIP’s 10th-anniversary awards ceremony to Canadians from coast to coast to coast and to all of the AIP’s partners and supporters who continue to promote and encourage northern innovation.

    About the AIP

    As the largest annual prize in Canada, the Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP) inspires, enables, and celebrates the achievements of the people of the North. The AIP recognizes diverse teams and enables their innovative projects in the fields of education, health and wellbeing, culture, arts and language, science and traditional knowledge, climate change, and the economy. Each year, the AIP awards: one $1 million prize, up to four prizes of up to $500,000 each, and up to seven youth prizes of up to $100,000 each. The AIP is owned and governed by the northern-led AIP Charitable Trust and is a community of Indigenous organizations, governments, industry, philanthropy, and many other partners from the North and South.

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