2018 Laureates

The seventh annual Arctic Inspiration Prize Awards Ceremony was held in Whitehorse, Yukon on 12 February 2019 in conjunction with the Arctic Indigenous Investment Conference. A total prize award of over $2.5 million was shared amongst five teams in three prize categories for their innovative plans to inspire change and improve the lives of people living in Canada's North.

$1 Million Category

Pirurvik - A Place to Grow: Early Childhood Education for Nunavummiut

The Pirurvik Preschool in Pond Inlet provides early childhood education (ECE) that is rooted in the Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit principal Pilimmaksarniq, which is a traditional practice of allowing children to learn at their own pace. Children are allowed to follow their own natural curiosity by choosing topics that interest them. The Pirurvik - A Place to Grow team received the $1 million Arctic Inspiration Prize for their project which aims to change the lives of children throughout Nunavut by developing innovative and comprehensive ECE programs that are rooted in Inunnguiniq and in traditional child-rearing practices, and that are responsive to the needs of each community. The goal is to augment current programming for infants and toddlers aged three months to five years in seven communities that span across all three regions of Nunavut. The model could eventually be replicated throughout the territory. www.pirurvikpreschool.com

Nominator: Adriana Kusugak, Executive Director, Nunavut Literacy Council

Team Members: Raymee Angnetsiak, Ilisapi Haulli, Celina Kalluk, Leah Kippomee, Samantha Koonoo, Tessa Lochhead (Co-Team Leader), Ceporah Mearns, Denica Nahogaloak, Karen Nutarak (Co-Team Leader), Julian Oyukuluk, Pauline Pauloosie, Noodloo Peter, Tannikie Peterloosie, Sandi Vincent-Connelly

AIP Category (Up to $500,000)

Nunami Sukuijainiq: A Youth Arctic Ecology Land Camp Program

Nunami Sukuijainiq is a land-based and hands-on science education program designed for Nunavik youth. This project won $466,000 from the Arctic Inspiration Prize to allow youth from all Inuit communities in Nunavik to have the opportunity to participate in Arctic ecology land camps which focus on marine and freshwater edible resources, hydrology, entomology, contaminants, permafrost and the ecology of lakes, plants and Arctic char in rapidly changing northern environments. The project will provide mentoring opportunities for Inuit youth already enrolled in post-secondary science programs across Inuit Nunangat. To inspire other Arctic communities and regions, short documentary films will be produced during the ecology land camps. With the participation of Elders, local experts and researchers, Nunami Sukuijainiq aims to stimulate and nurture an interest in science in Inuit youth and to help them develop valuable skills as future environmental leaders in Nunavik.

Nominator: Michael Barrette, Associate Director, Renewable Resources, Environment, Lands and Parks Department, Kativik Regional Government

Team Members: Anita Annanack, Jeannie Annanack (Co-Team Leader), Susie Annanack, Qaajui Baron, Xavier Dallaire, Geneviève Dubois, Jimmy Emudluk, José Gérin-Lajoie, Gwyneth MacMillan, Eleonora Townley (Co-Team Leader)

Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Teaching and Working Farm Extended-Season Greenhouse Construction

Indigenous households across Canada experience food insecurity at a rate nearly twice that of non-Indigenous households (Council of Canadian Academies, 2014). To help address this issue locally, the Tr'ondëk Hwëch’in (TH) partnered with Yukon College to create a farm capable of sourcing fresh produce and other food staples in a sustainable way within TH traditional territory and Settlement Lands. Currently, the northern growing season is constrained to a five month period from May to September. This project received $500,000 from the Arctic Inspiration Prize to build an extended-season cold-climate greenhouse, the first of its kind in Yukon, that will transform the farm into an operation capable of sustaining local production and providing experiential learning opportunities for up to 10 months of the year, even during some of the coldest periods of winter. The final design will also be deployable to other Yukon First Nations and northern communities seeking to implement localized solutions to food security challenges. https://trondekfarm.ca

Nominator: Sandy Silver, Premier of Yukon

Team Members: Harry Borlase, Derrick Hastings (Team Leader), Peter Marangu, Eoin Sheridan, Mike Taylor, Nick Wozniewski

Traditional Techniques Tweaked to Galvanize Indigenous Northern Artisans

In an effort to address limited opportunities for economic development in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and the Gwich'in Settlement Area, the Traditional Techniques team received $500,000 from the Arctic Inspiration Prize for their plan to celebrate and promote the remarkable work done by northern, Indigenous artisans. The objective is to create an association of northern Indigenous artists and crafters across the region to work at developing sustainable business ventures, improving local artisans' skills, ensuring authentic, high quality products, and building confidence as sustainable business owners. Establishing a sustainable regional association of professional artists and crafters will increase the value of the arts sector as it improves quality, stimulates innovation, and supports sustainability. The end result, an Indigenous-owned and operated venture with self-determined quality, products, prices, and markets that will support sustainable and culturally valuable lifestyles.

Nominator: Peter Clarkson, Regional Director for the Beaufort Delta, Government of the Northwest Territories

Team Members: Matthew Dares, Sue McNeil (Team Leader), Verna Pope, Annie Steen

Youth Category (Up to $100,000)

From Scrap to Art

No longer mentored as hunters due to intergenerational trauma, at-risk youth often feel they cannot contribute and become valued community members. Suicide, violence, drugs, alcohol and vandalism can send youths and communities into a downward spiral. From Scrap to Art received $100,000 for their plan to help young Northerners in Cambridge Bay forge intergenerational connections, develop practical and artistic skills, and confidently approach their futures with goals and a sense of identity - all while strengthening community wellness and pride. Under the guidance of Inuit and Maori mentors and northern educators, the youth team will develop teaching materials, and set up a dedicated welding studio where they can teach other young Northerners the skills of welding - transforming discarded metal into art. Through the project, youth will have the opportunity to develop and express themselves through art, while at the same time helping the environment by recycling unused materials abandoned in landfills.

Nominator: Cynthia Ene, Executive Director, Kitikmeot Chamber of Commerce

Team Members: Kaitak Allukpik, Attima Hadlari, Elizabeth Hadlari, Kerry Illerbrun, Brandon Kavanna, Andrew Kitigon (Team Leader), Marla Limousin, Bradley Maghagak, Daryl Taptoona Haynes, Robert Taptoona Haynes