Two Nunavut projects shortlisted for $1M prize

Eight finalists announced for different Arctic Inspiration Prize categories; winners to be named in February

The early childhood educators behind the preschool program Piruvik: A Place to Grow, celebrate their $1-million win at the Arctic Inspiration Prize ceremony held in Whitehorse in February 2018. This year’s top-prize finalists include two projects based in Nunavut. (Photo by Alistair Maitland/AIP)

By Nunatsiaq News

A cultural campus or an Inuit-led suicide prevention project could get a $1-million boost through the annual Arctic Inspiration Prize.

They are two of eight finalists across three prize categories — $1 million, $500,000 and up to $100,000.

Both candidates for the top prize are based in Nunavut.

Kuugalak is a proposal to build what Arctic Inspiration Prize describes as a “language campus” in Cambridge Bay. It would consist of indoor and outdoor cultural activity areas with cultural production equipment and experimental landscaping.

The landscaping would bridge “green energy research with the growing of local plant species for climate adaptation, nutrition and cultural use,” according to a news release from the Arctic Inspiration Prize.

Kuugalak is led by Emily Angulalik, president of the Kitikmeot Heritage Society.

The site would be used “for free public programming that draws from deep reserves of Inuit and local knowledge to foster innovation,” states the release.

The second $1-million finalist comes from the Ilitaqsiniq Nunavut Literacy Council. It would extend to all of Inuit Nunangat.

The project, Pilimmaksaijuliriniq, would build more mental health competencies and Inuit wellness traditional teachings into Ilitaqsiniq’s programs.

“This will support community organizers, community champions, activists and trainers who deliver community-based programming across Inuit Nunangat,” the release noted.

Pilimmaksaijuliriniq is led by Adriana Kusugak, executive director of the Nunavut Literacy Council.

Three finalists are up for the $500,000 category, including one project from Nunavik, called Atanniuvik.

Atanniuvik is a made-in-Nunavik research governance organization that would support Inuit self-determination in research that happens in Nunavik.

“Nunavik is the only region in Inuit Nunangat without a centralized research approval process in place,” states the release.

Atanniuvik is up against Lessons from our Elders, an N.W.T.-based high school program that pairs elders with youth to identify and learn the traditional stories behind historic artifacts, and a Yukon-based mental health recovery support program.

The prize’s youth category, which is up to $100,000, also includes a finalist from Nunavut.

The Nunavut Youth Creative Collective would take place in Iqaluit.

It would work to increase Inuit representation in advertising, media and other digital platforms.

The Nunavut Youth Creative Collective is up against a Whitehorse-based traditional camp and an initiative out of Inuvik, N.W.T., that would mentor youth.

Last year’s $1-million winner was the Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre, based in Kuujjuaq. Isuarsivik announced earlier this week it’s planning to be ready to accept its first guests in April.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Northern Lights trade show in Ottawa on Feb. 8.


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