2013 Finalists

The six shortlisted nominees for 2013 include multidisciplinary teams working on important issues in the Canadian Arctic including Inuit health, northern education and housing, environmental monitoring, and knowledge exchange between the North and South.

The AVATIVUT Program

Implemented in 2012, the AVATIVUT Program involves Inuit high school students from 14 communities across Nunavik in community-based environmental monitoring while providing the opportunity for hands-on student learning on topics including Inuit culture and climate change. The project team, made up of participants from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Kativik School Board, University of British Columbia, and Kuujjuaq High School, is proposing to build on and expand the program to the level of a national, then global education program while continuing to produce innovative and culturally relevant educational material for Inuit students that bridges scientific and local knowledge. (website)

Team Leader: Esther Lévesque / Nominator: Michael Barrett, Assistant Director, Kativik Regional Government

CANHelp Working Group

Research has demonstrated that Helicobacter pylori infection, a bacterial infection of the stomach, is linked to high frequencies of stomach diseases in Arctic populations. A successful pilot project to encourage knowledge exchange regarding the bacteria was carried out in Aklavik, NT, by members of the CANHelp Working Group. Researchers from the University of Alberta working with northern community leaders recruited local residents to create innovative and meaningful ways to communicate the results of their findings to the community. The CANHelp team is proposing to expand their program to other northern communities to address concerns about the health risks from H. pylori infection in the broader Arctic. (website)

Team Leader: Karen Goodman / Nominators: Marianne S.V. Douglas, Director, Canadian Circumpolar Institute; Anita Dey Nuttall, Acting Director, Canadian Circumpolar Institute

The Hudson Bay Network

After conducting successful community-based research programs in the Hudson Bay region of Nunavut, The Arctic Eider Society along with community leaders from Sanikiluaq, Kuujjuarapik, Inukjuak and Umiujaq and researchers from Carleton University and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are proposing to expand their project to the coastal regions of Nunavik. Their multi-community research and monitoring proposal for eastern Hudson Bay would combine community-based training in oceanographic and ecological research techniques with data sharing and outreach through an interactive web platform and social media. The project would address community concerns regarding environmental change in the coastal region, including changing sea ice conditions and effects on wildlife while strengthening integration between Inuit Traditional Knowledge and science. (website)

Team Leader: Joel P. Heath / Nominator: Terry Audla, President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Ikaarvik: From Barriers to Bridges

Ikaarvik: From Barriers to Bridges is a program dedicated to establishing lasting relationships between the five Northern communities of Cambridge Bay, Pond Inlet, Kugluktuk, Pangnirtung and Gjoa Haven, and five of the largest zoos and aquariums in Southern Canada (Assiniboine Park Zoo, Aquarium du Québec, Ecomuseum Zoo, Vancouver Aquarium, Toronto Zoo). With a potential to reach over 11 million Canadian and international visitors annually, the project will help provide the public with a more accurate understanding of the Canadian Arctic and its peoples. Via ARCTIConnection at Université du Québec à Rimouski, the five Northern communities will also be linked with southern scientists in different fields of research relevant to their needs. Dialogues on Northern issues between communities and government agencies will also be established in order to increase mutual understanding. The existing Canadian Rangers Ocean Watch (CROW) project, a science program led by the Institute of Ocean Sciences with the Canadian Rangers, will be expanded to all five Northern communities. These Ikaarvik initiatives will also help Arctic scientists conduct more locally relevant science and will facilitate the linking of Inuit knowledge with Western science. (website 1, website 2)

Team Leader: Eric Solomon / Nominator: David J. Scott, Executive Director, Canadian Polar Commission

The National Strategy on Inuit Education – National Parent Mobilization Initiative

Low school attendance rates are a serious problem in Inuit communities in Canada and involving parents in their children’s education is critical to improving education outcomes in the North. The National Committee on Inuit Education and the Amaujaq National Centre for Inuit Education have initiated a national campaign to mobilize parents, with the key message: “Getting children to school every day, all day, well rested and ready to learn”. Through media support, regional roundtables and conferences, community-targeted initiatives, profiling of success stories, and the creation of parent toolkits with tips on how parents can support their children’s education, the National Parent Mobilization Initiative wants to encourage northern students to attend school regularly and succeed. (website)

Team Leader: Mary Simon / Nominator: Joe Krimmerdjuar, Chairperson, Coalition of Nunavut District Education Authorities

SakKijânginnatuk Nunalik

Access to culturally suitable and environmentally adapted housing is one of the most important issues facing Northerners across Canada. Drawing on local Inuit knowledge, professional assessments and literature reviews, team members from the Nunatsiavut Government, the Nunatsiavut Joint Management Committee and the Nain Research Centre as well as researchers from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, have established requirements for housing needs in the region. SakKijânginnatuk Nunalik would use this baseline information to build and monitor Nunatsiavut’s first sustainable, multi-unit residential dwelling and establish a prototype for Northern housing development that addresses the changing northern climate, infrastructure requirements and Inuit housing needs and preferences and could potentially be applied across Canada. (website)

Team Leader: Isabella Pain / Nominator: Udloriak Hanson, Senior Advisor to Executive Council for Aboriginal Issues and Arctic Economic Opportunities, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador