NWT-backed youth project on $1M Arctic Inspiration shortlist

Last modified: November 21, 2018 at 5:35pm

Ten finalists for the 2018 Arctic Inspiration Prize – who have a chance of sharing a $3 million prize fund – were announced on Wednesday.

Northern Compass, a project designed to improve the prospects of northern youth and nominated by a Northwest Territories government minister, is one of three challengers for the $1 million grand prize.

According to Northern Compass, its vision will “create practical tools and an innovative support network that address and eliminate the broad spectrum of barriers that youth across all three territories face, while making successful transitions into post-secondary education, careers, and beyond.”


One of the team leaders, Rebecca Bisson – who is also the executive director of Northern Youth Abroad – told Cabin Radio: “We are thrilled to be selected as a finalist.”

She continued: “Our team is made up of young people that include youth, educators and community members from across the North and we are deeply committed to this work.”

The remaining million-dollar nominees are Pirurvik, an early childhood education program for Nunavummiut; and Uqarluta Inuinnaqtun, which aims to preserve the Inuinnaqtun language.

Pirurvik, subtitled A Place to Grow, pitches early childhood programming “rooted in Inunnguiniq and in traditional child-rearing practice … responsive to the needs of each community” in Nunavut.

Uqarluta Inuinnaqtun, or Let’s Speak Inuinnaqtun, plans a youth immersion program in Nunavut communities; a mentor and apprentice program; and an intensive language documentation program.


Association for artists

Three regional selection committees choose the nominees. A national selection committee will announce the winners at a ceremony in Whitehorse on February 12, 2019.

The NWT’s FOXY sexual health and education project won the grand prize in 2014, while the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Project took the top honour last year.

The million-dollar prize grabs headlines each year, but is only one of several categories of funding.


A second, $500,000 category features the following finalists:

  • Nunami Sukuijainiq: A Youth Arctic Ecology Land Camp Program
  • Nunavut Law Program
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Teaching and Working Farm Extended-Season Greenhouse
  • Traditional Techniques Tweaked to Galvanize Indigenous Northern Artisans
  • Transforming Lateral Violence

The only NWT-specific project in the running this year is Traditional Techniques Tweaked to Galvanize Indigenous Northern Artisans – which aims to improve economic development in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and Gwich’in Settlement Area by creating an association for northern Indigenous artists, supporting them in developing their businesses and products.

Northern Compass, while nominated by NWT Youth Minister Alfred Moses, is a pan-territorial project in scope.

A youth category, where recipients can receive up to $100,000, includes two nominations: From Scrap to Art, and Truth & Reconciliation: A Call to Action from Youth/Millennials.