Five teams from across Canada’s North were awarded a share of over $2.5 million for their innovative projects to improve the quality of life in their communities during the Arctic Inspiration Prize awards ceremony held February 12.
Pirurvik: A Place to Grow, an innovative and comprehensive early childhood education program rooted in traditional child-rearing practices that aims to change the lives of children throughout Nunavut, received the top prize of $1 million.
In addition to the $1 million prize, three prizes of up to $500,000 were awarded.
Nunami Sukuijainiq: A Youth Arctic Ecology Land Camp Program was awarded $466,000 for its land-based and hands-on science education program designed for Nunavik youth. (See article in this issue.)
A team from Yukon working to address food insecurity in the North received $500,000 for the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Teaching and Working Farm Extended-Season Greenhouse Construction.
The project partners, the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Yukon College, will build an extended season cold-climate greenhouse, the first of its kind in the Yukon, that will transform the existing farm into an operation capable of sustaining local production and providing experiential learning opportunities for up to 10 months of the year.
The third winner in this category is Traditional Techniques Tweaked to Galvanize Indigenous Northern Artisans. The project was awarded $500,000 to create an association of northern Indigenous artists and crafters from across the region to work at developing sustainable business ventures, improving local artisans’ skills and confidence, and ensuring authentic, high quality products.
In the Youth category, this year’s laureate is From Scrap to Art winning the $100,000 prize to develop teaching materials and set up a dedicated welding studio in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, where they can teach young Northerners welding under the guidance of Inuit and Maori mentors and northern educators.
The Arctic Inspiration Prize awards ceremony was held in conjunction with the 2019 Arctic Indigenous Investment Conference at the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse and featured the first ever pan-northern performance of Juno award winners Elisapie and Leela Gilday, along with Yukon’s Diyet and special guest Wesley Hardisty.