Arctic Inspiration Prize awards over $3 million to 7 teams across the North

February 19, 2021

For the first time ever, the Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP) has awarded over $3 million to seven remarkable teams across the North for their groundbreaking and creative projects. The prizes were awarded tonight in an ambitious pan-northern virtual celebration broadcast across the country on APTN.

“In a year that has brought many challenges, sacrifices and uncertainties, the AIP has really gone above and beyond to make dreams come true and support these incredible by the North, and for the North projects,” said Hannah Uniuqsaraq, Chair of the AIP 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 $5.6 million for these Laureates.”

The $1 million prize went to “Imaa, Like This”: Children and Youth Expressing Themselves Through Music for their project focused on teaching Inuit children music, employing Inuit youth as music instructors, mentoring Inuit youth musicians to become community music leaders, and providing professional development opportunities for Nunavut educators and post-secondary students on integrating traditional Inuktut music into their programs.

"Winning the AIP is a dream come true for us all! Many children, youth leaders, parents have asked for more music education opportunities. Now, we can develop and offer a culturally relevant Sistema inspired after-school music program for young children, employ local music instructors, and provide mentorship to aspiring youth music leaders from across Nunavut to facilitate music programs in their home communities! We are thankful for the AIP for this opportunity to expand and enrich our music programs' outreach, and for our many partners and supporters for believing in us and the positive power of music education!” said Naiome Eegeesiak and Darlene Nuqingaq, Imaa Team Co-Leaders.

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

Niqihaqut was awarded $451,000 to develop a new model of social economy and food sovereignty anchored in sustainable and innovative harvesting, and the processing and use of country foods, all guided by Inuit values. It hopes to provide local incomes, contribute to healthier diets, and help preserve local knowledge.

Aiming to bridge the gap between educational and health care services, Tusaajuit was awarded $500,000 to ensure community members have access to educational resources about hearing loss and facilitating access to hearing care. This project also hopes to address the root causes of hearing loss by focusing on hearing loss prevention.

The First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun’s Indigenous Food Sovereignty Hub is this year’s third winner taking home $485,000. This project proposes to reduce barriers to accessing healthy and culturally relevant foods while empowering individuals to design their own paths toward food sovereign futures.

Individuals will continue to extend the reach of this food sovereignty network via their dinner tables, whether that be through their households, education, businesses and/or community organizations.

The final laureate in the AIP category is Youth Training in Ethical Knowledge Sharing and Co-production to Advance Northern, Indigenous-led Conservation and Stewardship. This team was awarded $500,000

to train a generation of youth to design and deliver relevant research projects using Indigenous research methods, community-based research methods, and ethical approaches to knowledge sharing between Indigenous and Western ways of knowing.

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

Artspace was awarded $100,000 to offer arts programs in the evenings and weekends, as well as daytime drop-in space, that cater to youth, individuals experiencing homelessness, and professional artists.

The Western Arctic Youth Collective was awarded $97,000 to create a network of allies and supporters of youth that have an understanding of each other's worldviews and experiences and organize creative and relevant programming for young people in the Gwich'in Settlement Region and Inuvialuit Settlement Region while connecting with like-minded groups in other northern regions.

The AIP is proud to have worked with Leela Gilday as artistic director and Indigenous production company Animiki See Digital Production to produce this year’s awards ceremony. A very special thank you to our hosts Andrea Brazeau and Chantal Rondeau for giving this virtual ceremony an intimate and celebratory feeling. The Awards Ceremony also included performances by Nunavut’s Silla and Rise, Yukon’s Dakhká Khwáan Dancers, the Northwest Territories’ Wesley Hardisty and The Pan Lab Alumni Choir from Nunatsiavut. Finally, the AIP is honoured to continue to partner with the Arctic Indigenous Investment Conference and the Yukon Arts Centre, honouring Whitehorse as the host city of this virtual ceremony.

About the AIP

As the largest annual prize in Canada, the Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP) encourages, enables and celebrates the inspiring achievements of the people of the North. The AIP recognizes diverse teams and enables their innovative projects in the fields of education, sustainable housing, health, performing arts, traditional knowledge, language, and science. 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.

For further information, please contact:
Allison MacLachlan
(613) 316-3473
allison.maclachlan@rhf-frh.ca