Four NWT projects among 2020 Arctic Inspiration finalists

Ten finalists have been announced for the 2020 Arctic Inspiration Prize, including four proposals related to projects in the Northwest Territories.

The three finalists in the prize’s million-dollar showpiece category do not include an NWT entry. They instead hail from Nunavik, Nunavut, and the Yukon.

In the $500,000 category, Herb Norwegian leads a project entitled Dene Ahthít’e: Rebuilding the Indigenous Economy in the Dehcho.


The project aims to address colonization, cultural genocide, trauma and economic dependency by “re-establishing Dene values and laws as guiding principles for economic development, livelihood generation, and entrepreneurial development,” according to an Arctic Inspiration Prize news release.

In the same category, a proposal led by the Canadian Mountain Network would offer research training to youth in the NWT, Yukon, and Nunatsiavut.

“The project will aim to train a generation of youth to design and deliver relevant research projects using Indigenous research methods, community-based research methods, and ethical approaches to knowledge sharing between Indigenous and western ways of knowing,” the news release states.

The three other $500,000 finalists are a hearing care project in Nunavik and food sovereignty initiatives in Nunavut and Yukon.

In the youth category, worth up to $100,000 per project, both finalists involve in the NWT.


Makerspace’s Cat McGurk leads a project entitled Artspace to offer evening and weekend programs to “youth, individuals experiencing homelessness, and professional artists,” alongside daytime drop-in space.

In the second project, Alyssa Carpenter and the Western Arctic Youth Collective propose “a network of allies and supporters of youth that have an understanding of each other’s worldviews and experiences and organize creative and relevant programming for young people.”

Winners will be announced in February 2021.

The million-dollar prize finalists include a program to address substance abuse in Nunavik, a music instruction program in Nunavut that missed out on the top prize last year, and a Yukon project to create a “virtual hub committed to strengthening services and supports that are grounded in Indigenous knowledges for those harmed by violence in the Yukon, particularly Indigenous women and girls.”


Northern Compass, a project that prepares NWT and Nunavut youth to transition from high school to post-secondary education and successful careers, won last year’s $1-million prize.