Yellowknife student wins prestigious northern award

Christopher Yurris, a born-and-raised Yellowknifer, is one of 11 recipients to win a $5,000 Polar Northern Resident Award this year.

Yurris is one of only two undergraduates among the 11. The prize, awarded by the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies, supports development of research and knowledge in the North.

Yurris is a fourth-year political science student at St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.


Though he said he was “somewhat surprised” to learn he won, he added he was “pretty happy with getting the award.”

The prize money will be used to support Yurris with schooling and travel costs as he works on his honours thesis paper this coming school year.

He’s researching consensus government in the NWT and what “political accountability” looks like in non-partisan and consensus politics.

His investigations centre on: “Why do incumbent candidates lose in the Northwest Territories non-partisan electoral system?”

“I’ve been wanting to do my honours thesis on consensus government since even first year, so it’s kind-of the culmination of three years of work so far,” he said.


“I’m definitely interested in the topic, so it’s nice to see it kind-of pay off in the end.”

Yurris hopes to come back to the North after he graduates and work in government in the territory.

Now, he is back in Yellowknife for the summer and waiting for his research licence to come through so he can begin his project in earnest.

He wants to thank his professors – Dr Adam Lajeunesse, Dr Nathan Allen, and Dr Jim Bickerton – for helping him to apply for the award and supporting him with his project.


He’d also like to thank David Wasylciw of Open NWT for providing him with data needed for his research, and the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies and Polar Research for providing this opportunity.