Inuvik duo win 2023 Indspire awards

Kylik Kisoun Taylor, left, and Willow Allen in photos issued by Indspire
Kylik Kisoun Taylor, left, and Willow Allen in photos issued by Indspire.

Model and social work student Willow Allen and entrepreneur Kylik Kisoun Taylor have both been named recipients of 2023 Indspire awards.

Indspire, an Indigenous national charity, says its awards – now 30 years old – honour “First Nations, Inuit, and Métis individuals who demonstrate outstanding achievement across Turtle Island and beyond.”

Twelve winners were selected for 2023.

Kisoun Taylor wins the business and commerce award, having created Okpik Arctic Village – an immersive Inuit and Indigenous cultural experience on an island outside Inuvik – at the age of 19.



“His continual focus is social innovation, sustainable development, and community development, placing Indigenous values at the heart of everything he does,” reads a summary prepared by Indspire.

“Employing Indigenous people and assisting them with skills development, Kylik also funnels revenue back into the community wherever possible.”

Allen is one of three youth award recipients this year, alongside Ruby Bruce from the Manitoba Métis Federation and Reanna Merasty of Manitoba’s Barren Lands First Nation.

Allen, who has more than half a million followers on TikTok, began an international modelling career after being scouted on Instagram according to her Indspire profile.



Indspire says she has since become “one of the most sought-after new models in Canada.”

“Whether it’s sharing traditional Inuit cultural practices on TikTok or speaking to international media about the power of Indigenous women, Willow never misses an opportunity to create change,” Indspire said of Allen. The charity said she also works in mental health and social services and is studying social work at the University of Manitoba.

An awards gala is being held on Thursday in Edmonton. Each award winner receives a gold pin featuring a diamond from the NWT’s Diavik mine.

TV and radio shows celebrating the winners will air on June 18 on APTN and CBC.