A project designed to help youth in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut better prepare themselves for university and work is one of two finalists for the million-dollar 2019 Arctic Inspiration Prize.
The project, entitled Northern Compass, was also a finalist last year – but lost to a Nunavut early childhood education program named Pirurvik, A Place to Grow.
This year, Northern Compass will go up against another Nunavut entry. "Imaa, Like This" aims to teach Nunavut children music and train the territory's musicians to become community leaders and Inuit music teachers.
The shortlist was announced on Thursday. The prize is run by the Arctic Inspiration Prize Charitable Trust, which was formed in 2015 and includes trustees from across the North alongside industry leaders, scientists, and philanthropists.
Four other NWT-related projects are shortlisted for smaller cash prizes.
Two of those are finalists in the $500,000 category. The first, Dehcho River Journeys, would see students create short films exploring the transformation of the Mackenzie River over the past century. "This project would also feed into an exhibition at the new Fort Simpson Heritage Centre, telling the story of the political and environmental journey of the Dene over the 100 years since the signing of Treaty 11," a summary of the project reads.
The second, entitled Listening to the Grandfathers and Grandmothers, covers both the Yukon and NWT. The initiative would train youth aged 18-3to to design and deliver research projects that protect the land and water.
Also competing for the $500,000 prize are a Nunavut legal education project, a Yukon healing program, and a Nunavut initiative to address high-school dropout rates and suicides in three communities.
In the youth category – which comes with a $100,000 prize – two of the four nominees have NWT connections.
A design project listed under the name of Yellowknife's École St Patrick High School would address micro-plastics in the Arctic Ocean while trying to find a better way to track caribou in the North.
Another contender, Trades of Tradition, aims to fund initiatives in the NWT and Nunavut that let people "develop the traditional skills of hunting, sewing, drum-making and drumming."
Those two youth entries are up against a Yukon youth healthcare summit proposal and a dog-sledding outdoor education program in Nunavut.
Winners will be named at a ceremony in Ottawa on February 5, 2020.