2016 Finalists

Members of Arctic Inspiration Prize Selection Committee met in Ottawa on October 17th to review the nominations received as part of the 2016 competition. Eight nominations were shortlisted as Finalists for the 2016 Arctic Inspiration Prize for their knowledge to action plans focusing on issues of critical importance in Canada’s North. The projects deal with one or more of AIP’s priority areas: Education, Human Health, Socio-Cultural Issues, Environment and Economy. One to five Laureates will be selected from these high level nominations and will be announced on 8 December 2016 at the 2016 Arctic Inspiration Prize Awards Ceremony in Winnipeg.


The loss of cultural traditions has had a profoundly negative impact on the wellbeing of Inuit. Until recently, Tunniit, the ancient Inuit tradition of facial and body tattooing, was on the brink of becoming history. The Inuit Tattoo Revitalization project seeks to reconnect Inuit women with traditional tattooing methods by training women in every Inuit community to become traditional tattoo artists. The Inuit Tattoo Revitalization project, supported by artists, elders and partners from municipal and territorial governments as well as the private sectors, will also deliver workshops where women will explore their history, traditional cultural identities and languages.

Team Leader: Angela Hovak Johnston, Traditional Tattoo Artist, Throat Singer, Seamstress / Nominator: Herb Nakimayak, Executive Council Member, Inuit Circumpolar Council (Canada)

Photos: Provided by Inuit Tattoo Revitalization Project
Video: Build Films/Arctic Inspiration Prize


An active lifestyle, proper nutrition, and a sense of belonging all play a vital role in nurturing healthy communities. NURRAIT, a unique eight-month healthy living, environmental awareness, and leadership program that culminates in a five-day cross-country ski expedition, aims to expand its program to 14 Nunavik communities. With the support of Inuit elders, educators, professional ski instructors and guides, and public and private-sector organizations, NURRAIT encourages young people to experience the lifestyles of their ancestors while learning valuable skills to deal with life’s challenges.

Team Leader: Marie-Hélène Caron, Project Assistant, NURRAIT; Communications Officer, Tamaani Internet, Nunavik / Nominator: Michael Barrett, Associate Director, Renewable Resources, Environment, Lands and Parks Department, Kativik Regional Government

Photos: Provided by Nurrait Program
Video: Build Films/Arctic Inspiration Prize

NEXTT: Northern Excellence Today & Tomorrow

As a unique and growing region, the Canadian North offers a wealth of opportunities for young people across the North to assume meaningful roles in a broad range of areas and industries in both the public and private sectors. However, youth in many northern communities face a host of challenges that limit their access to education and training options. NEXTT, a team of secondary and post-secondary educators and administrators, youth organization leaders, and youth ambassadors from Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon, will develop an accessible network of resource tools and activities to encourage youth to graduate high school and provide young people across the North with the knowledge, skills and competencies to make decisions about their career and education.

Team Leader: Rebecca Bisson, Executive Director, Northern Youth Abroad / Nominator: Mary Ellen Thomas, Nunavut Research Institute

Photos: Provided by NEXTT: Northern Excellence Today & Tomorrow
Video: Build Films/Arctic Inspiration Prize


Old Crow, the most northern community in Yukon, is powered by three diesel generators, consuming approximately half a million litres of diesel fuel per year. The effects of climate change and the prohibitive costs of producing electricity with diesel fuel puts the community in an untenable position. The Vuntut Gwitchin Government, in partnership with ATCO Electric Yukon, Yukon College’s Research Centre, and the Yukon Government’s Energy Branch, aims to develop a clean energy solution for the community of Old Crow by building a 330kW solar photovoltaic array that will displace the equivalent of over 90,000 litres of diesel fuel and 267 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Team Leader: Dana Tizya-Tramm, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Councillor / Nominator: Shirley Abercrombie, Assistant Deputy Minister of Energy, Corporate Policy and Communications, Government of Yukon

Photos: Provided by Old Crow Solar Project
Video: Build Films/Arctic Inspiration Prize


Psychosocial problems, coupled with post-traumatic stress, depression, addiction and even incarceration prevent some parents from meeting their children’s needs, and the number of Nunavik children placed in Youth Protection is rising. Qarmaapik House, a safe house located in Kangiqsualujjuaq, aims to work with a multidisciplinary team of community health and social service providers, elders, parents, and educators to address the underlying causes of poor parenting and to provide families and community members with the tools, support and understanding of their role so they can rediscover their capacity to handle crisis situations effectively and tackle the issues behind the crisis.

Team Leader: Hilda Snowball, Mayor, Kangiqsualujjuaq / Nominator: Joë Lance, Executive Assistant to the President, Makivik Corporation

Photos: Provided by Qarmaapik House
Video: Build Films/Arctic Inspiration Prize


One of the keystones of the Singletrack to Success (S2S) Project is the belief that trails and bicycles have many life lessons to teach, and a unique power to help people find their special talents, build confidence, and establish a place in the world. Building on the monumental success of the Carcross Tagish First Nation S2S program, S2S will expand its capacity and engage indigenous youth and communities in all three territories in planning and developing a world-class trail network that will generate tourism, promote community wellness and active recreation, and provide youth with employment and connection to their ancestral lands.

Team Leader: Jane Koepke, Yukon First Nation Chamber of Commerce / Nominator: Ryder Hesjedal, Racing cyclist

Photos: Provided by Singletrack to Success Project
Video: Build Films/Arctic Inspiration Prize


In Nunavut, computer science is not taught at any level in any school, putting Nunavut youth at a disadvantage in the knowledge economy. The te(a)ch team has assembled technical experts, curriculum producers, mental health workers and youth ambassadors from the north and south, who have developed an online infrastructure that includes 52 weeks of curriculum that teaches programming, game design, engineering and computer science from a beginner to an advanced level. The te(a)ch team will travel to key communities where individuals will learn to use the curriculum in their communities and help build a sustainable technology presence across the North.

Team Leader: Ryan Oliver, The Pinnguaq Assocation / Nominator: Hal Timar, Nunavut Economic Developers Association

Photos: Provided by te(a)ch
Video: Build Films/Arctic Inspiration Prize


With climate change, landfast sea ice is becoming thinner putting Arctic communities who rely on sea ice to access food and maintain cultural and family activities at risk. SmartICE (Sea-ice Monitoring And Real-Time Information for Coastal Environments), a diverse partnership of community, academic, government and industry, has developed a near real-time monitoring and dissemination system that integrates Inuit Traditional Knowledge to improve safety conditions by informing decisions about coastal sea-ice travel and shipping. Through the establishment of SmartICE Inc., a northern social enterprise, SmartICE aims to expand its service across the Arctic to inform winter shipping and ice-breaking activities and enable travellers to make informed decisions and plan safe travel routes.

Team Leader: Trevor Bell, Professor, Memorial University / Nominator: Clint Davis, Chair, Nunatsiavut Group of Companies; Levi Barnabas, Chair, Qikiqtaaluk Corporation

Photos: Provided by SmartICE
Video: Build Films/Arctic Inspiration Prize