Ten Finalists Selected for the 2020 Arctic Inspiration Prize

November 20, 2020

Ten exceptional “by the North, for the North” projects have been selected as finalists for the ninth annual Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP). Ranging in scope and focus, each and every project demonstrates the potential to generate lasting impact across Canada’s North. Encouraging, enabling and celebrating northern achievement and innovation, the AIP is the largest prize in Canada dedicated to the Canadian Arctic.


Ilagiitigut anngiangijaqatigiinnirq ilurqusivuttigut
Team Leader: Jessica Tooma, Coordinator of the Inuit Values and Practices Department, Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Center
Geographical Scope: Nunavik
This project proposes to address substance abuse by focusing on intergenerational trauma, the reclamation of Inuit identity and culture, and connection to the land. The project would bring together elders, addiction counsellors, hunters, scholars and community members to create a marriage of best practices in the field of addiction and Inuit traditional knowledge regarding individual and collective wellness.

“Imaa, Like this”: Children and Youth Expressing Themselves Through Music
Team Leaders: Naiome Eegeesiak and Darlene Nuqingaq
Geographical Scope: Nunavut
This project aims to teach Inuit children music, employ Inuit youth as music instructors, mentor Inuit youth musicians to become community music leaders, and provide professional development opportunities for Nunavut educators and post-secondary students on integrating traditional Inuktut music into their programs.

Northern Centre for Justice, Dignity and Leadership
Team Leader: Ann Maje Raider, Executive Director, Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society
Geographical Scope: Yukon
This program intends to build a virtual hub committed to strengthening services and supports that are grounded in Indigenous knowledges for those harmed by violence in the Yukon, particularly Indigenous women and girls. The Centre would deliver an Indigenous-led education program for service providers that offers a new understanding of violence along with the insight and tools to uphold dignity, build safety and promote change.


Dene Ahthít’e: Rebuilding the Indigenous Economy in the Dehcho
Team Leader: Herb Norwegian, Chair, Edéhzhíe Management Board
Geographical Scope: Northwest Territories
This project will aim to offer programs to address the legacy and lasting effects of colonization, cultural genocide, intergenerational trauma and economic dependency by re-establishing Dene values and laws as guiding principles for economic development, livelihood generation, and entrepreneurial development.

Team Leader: Jimmy Oleekatalik, Manager, Spence Bay Hunters and Trappers Organization
Geographical Scope: Nunavut
This project proposes 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.

Team Leader: Tunu Napartuk, Director, Complementary and Compassionate Services, Kativik Ilisarniliriniq
Geographical Scope: Nunavik
This project aims to bridge the gap between educational and health care services by giving community members access to educational resources about hearing loss and facilitating access to hearing care. It 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
Team Leader: Sonny Gray, Owner and CEO, North Star Agriculture
Geographical Scope: Yukon
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 would 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.

Youth Training in Ethical Knowledge Sharing and Co-production to Advance Northern, Indigenous-led Conservation and Stewardship
Team Leader: Norma Kassi, Co-Research Director, Canadian Mountain Network
Geographical Scope: Yukon, NWT, Nunatsiavut
The project will aim 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.


Team Leader: Cat McGurk, President of Makerspace Yellowknife
Geographical Scope: Northwest Territories
Artspace will seek 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.

Western Arctic Youth Collective
Team Leader: Alyssa Carpenter, Co-Founder/Project Director
Geographical Scope: Northwest Territories, Inuvialuit Settlement Region
This project would 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.

The three Regional Selection Committees for Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Inuit Nunangat, comprised of Northerners representing diverse sectors and communities, reviewed and selected nominations from their regions. Their recommendations will go to the AIP’s National Selection Committee, who will select and announce the Laureates at the AIP’s 9th Annual Awards Ceremony, to be broadcast across the country in February 2021. More information about the ceremony will be available in the coming weeks.

About the Arctic Inspiration Prize
As the largest annual prize in Canada with a focus on the Arctic, 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 supported by Indigenous organizations, governments, industry, philanthropy, and many other partners from the North and South, with management support provided by the Rideau Hall Foundation.

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