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Arctic Inspiration Prize deadline approaches

Letters of intent accepted until Sept. 7
Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in chief Roberta Joseph, right, along with Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Teaching and Working Farm members, accept a $500,000 from the Arctic Inspiration Prize at the Yukon Arts Centre in 2018. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News)

Got an idea for a project that could make a positive impact in the North?

Letters of intent for the next Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP) are being accepted until Sept. 7.

Up for grabs is a $1 million prize, up to four prizes for up to $500,000 each and up to seven youth prizes of up to $100,000 each.

Teams looking to submit a letter of intent, that have questions about eligibility can submit a two-page letter of intent to get feedback on their proposal’s eligibility. That provides an opportunity to make changes to their proposal based on the feedback, and resubmit their letter of intent ahead of the deadline.

“Most other funding applications have very strict criteria. In comparison, the AIP is focused on ideas that can help the community. It is a resource that can help you realize your dream of making your community better, by bringing your ideas to life. It provides the opportunity to make the North stronger and better. You are only limited by how you limit yourself,” said Glen Brocklebank, of The Qajaq Program, and a 2017 Laureate and Trustee.

Over the course of the past 10 years, a total of $16.4 million has been awarded to 41 northern teams for projects in a variety of communities across the north.

The most recent Arctic Inspiration Prize saw over $3 million go to seven applicant teams across the North, including the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun’s Indigenous Food Sovereignty Hub. Other winners included a music program for Inuit youth and a program providing hearing loss services in Nunavut.

The Yukon First Nation won $485,000 in support funding for infrastructure improvements to their farm and food sovereignty initiative.

“Winning the AIP is a massive achievement for our people and this project,” said Simon Mervyn, chief of the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun, in a statement. “Building on the foundation of our working farm, we are now positioned to process our farmed and traditional wild foods, and more importantly we can train and educate our citizens using a combination of traditional culture and technology.

“The future is very bright for our sons and daughters, our grandchildren and neighbours, as we will all benefit in taking yet another step in our goal to achieving true food sovereignty.”

The farm is located around 90 minutes from both Dawson and Mayo.

“Being able to teach and mentor citizens to take over these processes, this farm and raising and growing vegetables and processing food is just a huge feature for the next generation,” said Sonny Gray, a contractor who worked with the First Nation to develop the farm, at the time.

“It’s easier to teach people and educate people that don’t have to necessarily come to the farm, they can learn a lot of the ins and outs prior to that, and then maybe work toward a career in that industry,” he said.

In previous years, some other Yukon groups awarded the Arctic Inspiration Prize have been Rivers to Ridges to begin The Nest preschool forest school program; the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in for its teaching and working farm, the Carcross/Tagish First Nation for its “Our Families, Our Way: Peacemaking Circle”.

Those wanting to submit a letter of intent for the next Arctic Inspiration Prize can do so at

Contact Stephanie Waddell at