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Finalists announced for Northern Arctic Inspiration Prize


Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP), an award celebrating Northern achievements, announced their finalists for the award’s three categories last week.

Each year AIP awards one $1 million prize, up to four $500,000 prizes, and up to seven $100,000 prizes to organizations across the three territories proposing projects "by the North, for the North." The goal is to enable Northern projects across fields of education, health, arts, traditional knowledge, language, science, and others. The $100,000 prize category is dedicated entirely to youth programming. 

The 2019, team, Northern Compass was awarded the $1 million prize. From left to right, Karen Aglukark, Rebecca Bisson, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, Aluki Kotierk, Jim Snider, Lois Philipp, Paulie Chinna, and Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq. Photo courtesy of Allison MacLachlan.

Of the 10 finalists, three are NWT based, two from the Yukon, four from Nunavut and Nunavik, and one Indigenous-led conservation program that spans the area of the North. 

The finalists were selected by regional selection committees comprised of Northern panelists representing diverse sectors from their region. After the committees make nominations for their territories', their recommendations go to the AIP’s national selection committee. Winners for this year's prize, the ninth annual AIP, will be announced February 2021. 

Singer/songwriter Leela Gilday, Candrill president Cody Dean, and Nunatsiavut director of Economic Development Kirsty Sheppard are among those on the regional selection panels, along with nine others Northerners with a range of backgrounds.



Both projects competing in the $100,000 youth prize category are NWT based. 

In one proposal, Alyssa Carpenter aims to create a youth support network to organize creative programming for young people in the NWT and Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

In the other, president of Makerspace Yellowknife, Cat McGurk, will offer evening, weekend, and day-time drop-in arts programming directed at youth, individuals experiencing homelessness, and professional artists. 

In the $500,000 category, the NWT Dene Ahthít’e project aims to re-establish Dene values and laws as guiding principles for entrepreneurs and economic development through community programming. 

Nunavut based Niqihaqut, proposes sustainable harvesting led by Inuit values as a way of achieving food sovereignty, employing locals, contributing to healthier diets, and preserving local knowledge. 

In the $1 million category, three nominees are vying for top prize. 

Naiome Eegeesiak and Darlene Nuqingaq propose a Nunavut Inuit music mentorship program.

A Nunavik-based proposal aims to address substance abuse by gather Elders, addiction counsellors, hunters, scholars, and community members to aggregate addiction best practices from a range of perspectives. 

Lastly, Ann Maje Raider, executive director of the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, seeks to build a virtual hub to provide services and supports to victims of violence in the Yukon. The hub would be grounded in Indigenous knowledge to provide clients with tools to uphold dignity, build safety, and promote change in their lives. 

AIP, now in its ninth year, is the largest annual award focusing on Canada's arctic.

The AIP is owned by AIP Charitable Trust and supported by Indigenous organizations, governments, industry, philanthropy, and other partners from across the country.

Northern Lights stock image
NNSL file photo.