An Indigenous wellness camp newly opened in Yellowknife is asking residents to help prevent vandalism.

The Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation, which won the $1 million Arctic Inspiration Prize earlier this year, held an opening ceremony for its camp on Tuesday. The camp is located in the bush behind Yellowknife’s fieldhouse.

A day later, the non-profit posted a request for residents asking for their help to ensure the camp is not trashed.

“Since we are a non-profit we have to rely on the good people in society to help us in achieving our work in helping people,” the organization wrote on its Facebook page.

“Since our camp is back in the bush it is accessible to anyone. Some people do not appreciate the work that goes into doing good things.

“So we ask if people can help us by keeping an eye on our camp if they are around the area. Even to take a walk in there and ensure that no one is damaging our tents and teepee and anything else we have there.”

The foundation suggested residents either call RCMP or get in touch with a gentleman named Donald on (867) 445-1095 if anything is amiss.

The foundation won the Arctic Inspiration Prize with its plan to introduce healing programs for at-risk Inuit, Métis, and First Nations people in the Northwest Territories. The Yellowknife wellness camp is designed to bring traditional on-the-land healing and Indigenous cultural education to an urban environment, nearer to some at-risk individuals.

The camp’s opening had a profound impact upon some attendees on Tuesday.

“I just made it halfway over here and I started having tears of joy and it hit me when I saw the camp,” Rassi Nashalik, a former host of CBC’s Igalaaq, told the corporation.

Dr Nicole Redvers, the project’s chair, told APTN people “can always expect a warm face, a warm hug, a hot cup of tea, and support available whenever anybody needs it.

“It was really important to not wait any longer. We’ve been waiting long enough, 30 or 40 years, for something like this.”