Six Northwest Territories-based projects are among the finalists in various categories offered by this year’s Arctic Inspiration Prize.
The organization said in recognition of its 10-year anniversary, 10 “by the North, for the North” projects were selected as finalists. Other finalists are from parts of northern Canada ranging from the Yukon to Nunatsiavut.
The laureates will be announced in a virtual award ceremony on March 4.
The two finalists for the sole $1-million top prize are from the Yukon and Nunavik. The Yujon proposal features a nature-based active play and youth employment project, while Nunavik’s focuses on a 32-bed facility to support families recovering from addiction.
Four NWT projects are in the running for a prize worth up to $500,000. Up to four projects can win money in this category.
One of the NWT’s projects, lead by Diane E Koe, proposes hosting a camp for traditional activities like fishing. Dryfish made at the camp would be shared with Gwich’in families and Elders who can’t make their own, as well as with the camp attendees.
Another NWT project led by Peggy Day, called Hope House, plans to support people experiencing homelessness by connecting them with counselling and rehabilitation, social housing, and job opportunities.
A third project, led by Rachel Cluderay, proposes developing training for people who deliver land-based programming so they are better prepared to respond to mental health challenges in more remote environments.
The fourth NWT project in the running for up to half a million dollars is a community climate resiliency project in Tuktoyaktuk.
“This project plans to help prepare the community to make difficult decisions regarding climate change, including possible relocation. The project would ensure the empowerment of locals to build capacity and knowledge of climate-driven change to stimulate resilience of the people and future generations,” read a news release explaining the project, which identified Kendyce Cockney as the team lead.
Two NWT projects are finalists for a prize worth up to $100,000. Up to seven youth projects can be awarded this funding in a given year, but only the NWT’s two projects were named finalists.
The first youth finalist project, led by Angela Koe-Blake, will be based in both the NWT and Yukon.
“This program aims to remove barriers and create opportunities for youth to learn land-based skills such as flatwater and whitewater canoeing, wilderness medicine, and whitewater rescue training in order to become wilderness guides,” explained a news release.
Through this, Koe-Blake’s team hopes the self-esteem, leadership, self-determination, career opportunities, and Indigenous-language knowledge of youth will grow.
The second project, called Treaty Talks, is an on-the-land treaty education camp for youth, Elders, and community members. The team lead is Jacey Firth-Hagen, who also leads the Gwich’in language revival campaign #SpeakGwichinToMe.