From qajaqs to hockey camps, organizers of the Arctic Inspiration Prize have announced their finalists for this year's prestigious—and lucrative— contest. And the groups, or individuals, who made the list are proposing a variety of creative projects to benefit residents of Canada's North.
Many of the projects suggest ways to reconnect youth with their elders, with traditional knowledge and skills, and with the land, and also to build their leadership skills and confidence.
The AIP offers a total of $3 million in prize money within three categories: $1 million, up to $500,000 and up to $100,000, with the latter two categories available to multiple winners.
In previous years, only $1 million was up for grabs, but this year, the prize money has tripled.
The projects hail from Yukon, Nunavut, Inuit Nunangat and combinations thereof. Winners will be announced at the 2018 Northern Lights Business and Cultural Showcase in Ottawa, Jan. 31, 2018.
Shortlisted for $1 million:
• Arctic Indigenous Wellness Project, Dr. Nicole Redvers, Yellowknife. Redvers proposes an urban-based healing program for Inuit, First Nations and Métis at risk of suicide and/or incarceration.
• From-the-land, Food Ambassadors Program: Jackoline Milne, Northern Farm Training Institute, N.W.T., Inuit Nunangat. The project would address northern food insecurity by empowering food producers to share knowledge of traditional wild food skills, and sustainable meat and vegetable production, with Arctic peoples.
Shortlisted for up to $500,000:
• Unaaq Men's Association of Inukjuak, Intensive Traditional Program Development, Tommy Palliser, Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board, Inuit Nunangat. The project would design seasonal training programs and pair young men with elders and experienced hunters to enhance intergenerational bonds, promote self-esteem and share traditional knowledge.
• Our Families, Our Way, the Peacemaking Circle, Lori Duncan, Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Yukon. The project proposes to combine traditional and contemporary knowledge to develop community-based peacemaking circles to help families and community workers resolve disputes peacefully.
• Inuinnait Ingilraatuqanit Ayuiqharvik, Inuinnait Cultural School, Pam Gross, Kitikmeot Heritage Society, Inuit Nunangat. The school proposes to develop formal courses for youth, delivered on the land, based on Inuinnait pre-history, history, geography, linguistics and traditional knowledge.
• The Qajaq Program, Glen Brocklebank, Chesterfield Inlet. With help from local elders, Chesterfield Inlet youth will learn to build and paddle their own qajaqs based on traditional designs from the region.
Shortlisted for up to $100,000:
• Dene Heroes Publication Project, Dakota Orlias, Colville Lake, N.W.T. The project hopes to support young Dene men and women as they learn to compile, publish and distribute a four-colour book that honours their Dene heroes.
• North in Focus: Nunavut, Our Land, Our People, Ashley Cummings, Pangnirtung. This project seeks capacity building for a future prize nomination to deliver mental health workshops and connect people with mental health resources to reduce stigma associated with mental illness, and help youth, aged 12 and older, realize strength and build pride.
• Rankin Rock Hockey Camp, David Clark, Hamlet of Rankin Inlet. The hockey camp hopes to develop youth leadership by giving youth hands-on experience learning how to be coaches and leaders with a hockey camp.
• Rivers to Ridges, Erin Nicolardi, Emily Payne, Whitehorse. This land-based education initiative hopes to meaningfully connect young people to the land and provide access to a natural space for child-directed, emergent and inquiry-based learning.
The Arctic Inspiration Prize was launched in 2012 by philanthropists Arnold Witzig and Sima Sharif, who invested in a $1 million prize aimed at growing Arctic knowledge and well-being throughout Canada's Northern regions.
You can learn more about the Arctic Inspiration Prize on their website.