Fifteen Finalists selected for the 12th Annual Arctic Inspiration Prize

April 18, 2024

With approximately $3.7 million up for grabs, the Arctic Inspiration Prize announces fifteen “by the North, for the North” finalists for the 12th Annual Arctic Inspiration Prize. Ranging in scope and focus, each project demonstrates the potential to generate lasting impact across Canada’s North. Inspiring, enabling and celebrating northern excellence and innovation, the AIP is the largest annual prize in Canada.

“The AIP received a record number of nominations this year, from every region across the North and we are particularly excited by their creativity, ingenuity and hope for the future,” said Wally Schumann, Chair of the AIP Board of Trustees. “We are thrilled with the increased interest in the Arctic Inspiration Youth Prize and would like to encourage young people in communities across the North to find inspiration in this group of finalists and their proposed projects. Being named an AIP finalist is an incredible achievement and on behalf of the entire AIP community, congratulations to them all!” 

Arctic Inspiration Prize finalists will be celebrated – and winners announced – at the 12th Annual Arctic Inspiration Prize Award Ceremony on May 7, 2024, in Whitehorse, Yukon in partnership with the Arctic Ingenious Investment Conference. Stay tuned for more about the ceremony, and on how to attend or watch from home.

$1 Million Category Finalists:


Piruqatigiit Resource Centre and Wenson Support Services (WSS) have partnered to create a holistic, Inuit-led alternative educational program for Nunavut children and youth who have left school or are not thriving within mainstream education. This innovative and responsive learning program will be grounded in Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, hands-on learning, land-based education, holistic well-being and life skills development. Inclusive practices (Tunnganarniq), being innovative (Qanuqtuurniq) and working together (Piliriqatigiinniq) are the foundation for this program’s sustainability and success. This program will be an act of reconciliation and efforts to decolonize neurodiversity and learning/teaching paradigms.

Inotsiavik Centre

Inotsiavik, meaning “a place to live well” in Nunatsiavummiutut, is an Inuit youth-led initiative dedicated to language and culture revitalization. This program will increase proficiency in Inuit cultural skills and Inuttitut in a safe, welcoming environment. Inotsiavik’s goal is to establish a not-for-profit cultural centre in Hopedale to host a range of programming committed to strengthening skills, confidence, and pride in Inuit identity. Inotsiavik aims to nurture traditions, promote intergenerational healing, and enhance overall health and well-being within Nunatsiavut.

Qikirtajuaq Camp

Inuit cultural identity and food security is reliant on harvesting and knowledge sharing. Qikirtajuaq (Long Island) is an important traditional beluga hunting area located 88km from Kuujjuarapik, which hosts the James Bay beluga, a stock that is listed as not at risk. This proposed project would host Inuit knowledge sharing camps so that Elders can share knowledge on the environment of Qikirtajuaq as well as on boating safety, wildlife management, respectful harvesting, and safe food preparation. While this camp prioritizes Inuit knowledge sharing to youth, it also provides an opportunity for youth to strengthen their language and to learn survival skills, research techniques, and wildlife monitoring approaches, to understand and appreciate the unique ecosystem and history of Qikirtajuaq.

Northern Territories Youth and Communities Strategy
(Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut)

The Northern Territories Youth and Communities Strategy is the foundation of large-scale system and policy change to improve outcomes, better align resources and strategies across governments, and empower youth and their communities to lead change efforts. This new pan-territorial project will incorporate traditional knowledge; collective experiences and understanding; local assets; and existing efforts to create a youth and community centered strategy to ensure youth have a sense of belonging, sense of self, and the confidence to make healthy life and learning choices.

Elevate the Inuit-led Screen-Based Industry Across Inuit Nunaat

This project aims to aggressively level up the skill level and experience of local cast, crew, and future producers across Inuit Nunaat to take the global stage by storm. This project aims to establish the foundation for a northern-based industry that prioritizes ownership of our stories, channels artistic expression, and has the influence to shape the thoughts and ideas of its audience both north and south. By leveraging these global relationships alongside capitalizing on the recently commissioned CBC, APTN, and Netflix television series created by MacDonald and Arnaquq-Baril, these programs will provide training and exposure to a diverse set of media-related jobs as well as support and inspiration for future Inuit-led productions.

AIP Category Finalists (up to $500,000):

Shifting Ice Realized
(Yukon, Northwest Territories, Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut)

The Yukon Literacy Coalition, in partnership with Ilitaqsiniq and the NWT Literacy Council, is proposing to create resources and an active, supportive information-sharing network across the northern regions. The 3 literacy councils have intentionally created learner-centered, non-formal approaches to learning programs by working with Elders and other content specialists. Through this approach, they have come to understand that there are many northern non-formal educators from all walks of life who are successfully teaching and sharing knowledge in their communities. Combining culture, language, traditional and non-traditional best practices will change the face of northern learning practices.

Thay K’i Anint’i

Since the Yukon entered a Substance Use Health Emergency in January 2022, after-care resources continue to be limited. Thay K’i Anint’i will offer recovery and wellness programming to support individual and community health recovery programs built around Indigenous culture and western practices in partnership. This two eyed recovery and wellbeing centre would expand to bring after-care models throughout the Yukon with the goal of supporting recovery models for all Yukoners.

Learning, Harvesting, Earning

In response to the pressing issue of food insecurity in Nunavut, this project aims to make a lasting impact through a two-pronged approach. The heart of the initiative lies in teaching boys and young men the traditional skills of fishing for Arctic Char in both winter and summer settings. The goal is to equip the young participants with the expertise needed for sustainable fishing practices. This innovative approach not only addresses food insecurity; it also creates economic sustainability for the project. By bridging the gap in traditional skills among indigenous boys and young men, this project seeks to empower them with meaningful employment opportunities and a chance to contribute to their communities.

Indigenizing Work with Traditional Knowledge and Support Project
(Northwest Territories)

Aurora Heat is an Indigenous and woman-led social enterprise based in Fort Smith, NT. Their project, Indigenizing Work with Traditional Knowledge & Support seeks to address the multifaceted challenges faced by many employees at Aurora Heat, a sustainable business producing and selling reusable products made of beaver fur. With a focus on addressing the root causes of employment instability, food insecurity, and loss of Indigenous cultural connections, they aim to create an innovative and healing way of work on the company’s new property. By enhancing their already flexible, supportive workplace, Aurora Heat ‘s goal is to inspire self-reliance and encourage positive mental and physical health for their employees and their families.

Hebron and Nutak Reunions

The Hebron and Nutak Reunions will provide an opportunity for the remaining able-bodied evictees to return to their homeland together at Hebron and Nutak/Okkak Bay in the summer of 2024. Though the program is short in duration, the impacts will be far-reaching and long-lasting with continued opportunity to return in the future with the descendants and able-bodied evictees. These reunions will provide a healing opportunity for the evictees and those participants who may be impacted by the eviction from Hebron and Nutak.

Therapeutic Farm School

The Therapeutic Farm School program is designed for K-12 students with disabilities in Yukon, particularly those with neurodiversities such as Autism, ADHD, and other cognitive delays. The program will encompass learning through experiential means, on the land from a First Nations perspective, with a combination of supports, including Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Play Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis, Music Therapy, and Equine Therapy. The Therapeutic Farm School program is an example of an intensive educational therapeutic support program, which will help students to develop and practice self-regulation strategies, that can be generalized to a typical classroom; these skills will assist students in making more meaningful connections with others, leading to positive mental health outcomes, higher rates of graduation and more successful learning experiences.

Arctic Inspiration Youth Prize Finalists (up to $100,000):

Investing in the Futures of Inuit Women

This project will provide employment and skill building opportunities for young Inuit mothers and women. It involves two programs which will both provide employment skills and a pathway for greater financial independence. The skills they learn will provide tools to increase their income earning potential for their future, as well as their confidence. The employment training program will provide part-time employment at One Plane Away, while they develop new skills to work in the not-for-profit sector and increase potential for employment. With this experience, they will be able to experience first-hand how their efforts can support Nunavut mothers and babies. The Traditional Inuit Sewing project will be offered in three communities. Participants will be encouraged to form a collective and explore the opportunity of a social enterprise that could bring innovation at a community level.

Yukon Young People’s Theatre Festival

The Youth Theatre Festival Committee of Yukon Theatre for Young People (YTYP) proposes to hold a 3-day Yukon Youth Theatre Festival at the Yukon Arts Centre in early 2025. Youth Festival Committee of YTYP believes firmly in the transformative power of theatre and arts-engagement and have experienced first-hand the positive outcomes to their own mental health when they were able to participate in theatre activities during their own high school experience. The goal of this project is to provide those young people with an opportunity to experience the benefit of the performing arts, and the positive impacts they have on health and well-being.

Youth Coalition 4 Food Security North
(Yukon, Northwest Territories, Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut)

The Youth Coalition 4 Food Security North is a project that will support, engage and connect youth in food initiatives in their regions across northern Canada. Their goal is to get youth engaged with local food production and empower them to share knowledge and experiences. This will empower youth to advocate for sustainable, culturally appropriate, resilient food production models in the North. This project will create a network of resources by youth, for youth, to support engagement in food dialogues and initiatives in the North.

L.O.V.E. Inuktut
(Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut)

L.O.V.E. Inuktut is a ground-breaking initiative dedicated to revitalizing and safeguarding the 11 main dialects of Inuktut which was determined by the expertise of Inuktut Tusaalanga, across Canada’s Arctic through the creation of beginner-level immersion-style videos. This project will work on an innovative app that integrates these language-learning videos into daily life. The key differentiator of this project lies in its emphasis on youth-driven initiatives, fostering intergenerational knowledge exchange and preserving Inuit wisdom. Positioned as a complementary addition to existing resources, the app will link to various Inuktut resources, ensuring a comprehensive learning journey and contributing to the sustained growth of Inuktut language and culture for years to come.

The three Regional Selection Committees for Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Inuit Nunangat, comprised of Northerners representing diverse sectors and communities, reviewed and selected Finalists from their regions. The Finalists will go to the AIP’s National Selection Committee, who will select and announce the Laureates at the AIP’s 12th Annual Awards Ceremony, to be held on May 7, 2024 in Whitehorse alongside the Arctic Indigenous Investment Conference. 

About the Arctic Inspiration Prize

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, 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 media requests:
Allison MacLachlan 
Arctic Inspiration Prize 
[email protected] 

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