Inotsiavik Centre in Labrador wins $1M Arctic Inspiration Prize

Inotsiavik Centre in Labrador wins $1 million Arctic Inspiration Prize

An Inuit cultural project based in northern Labrador walked away with this year’s $1 million Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP).

The Inotsiavik Centre project is the latest Arctic Inspiration Prize winner to take home the organization’s biggest annual prize.

The AIP provides money for northern innovation projects with a focus on education, health and wellbeing, culture, arts and language, science and traditional knowledge, climate change and the economy.

Each year, it awards one $1 million prize, up to four prizes of up to $500,000 each and up to seven youth prizes of up to $100,000 each. This year more than $3.2 million was awarded to ten teams from across the North.

The 12th annual ceremony was held at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse on Tuesday evening. According to organizers, the annual prize is the largest in Canada.

Nicholas Flowers, a team member with the Inotsiavik Centre, said he was “speechless” about the win.

“It’s incredible…we are very grateful,” he said.

The team plans to open a not-for-profit cultural centre in Hopedale which is part of Nunatsiavut, the Inuit territory in Labrador. The project aims to revitalize the Inuttitut language and culture by providing accessible education and programming to Inuit.

“The $1 million isn’t for us, it’s for Nunatsiavut, it’s for all Nunatsiavutvummiutut as a whole,” Flowers said.

‘A big win’

AIP 2024
The Inotsiavik Centre project, based in Labrador, was awarded the 2024 $1 million dollar prize. Photo: Alistair Maitland/AIP

In addition to the $1 million prize, five teams received prizes of up to $500,000 each.

A therapeutic farm school based in Yukon received $500,000. The program is designed for K-12 students with disabilities, particularly those with neurodiversities such as Autism, ADHD, and other cognitive delays. The program will incorporate an on-the-land First Nations perspective.

Thay K’i Anint’I, also based in Yukon, was awarded $499,000 to offer recovery and wellness programming to support individual and community health recovery programs built around Indigenous culture and western practices.

Lena Onalik, team leader for Hebron and Nutak Reunions, is excited to put its almost $300,000 prize money to good use.

The project will help transport able-bodied Elders evicted from the communities of Hebron and Nutak in Labrador in the 1950s back to their homeland for a healing trip in July.

“To have actually succeeded in getting the funding is a big win for us,” she said.

Onalik said the prize will be used towards flights, securing ships, accommodations and other necessities.

“It’s time. It needs to happen. They’re not getting any younger. We already know Elders are not going to be able to make it home because of their health…Everyone is going to have the chance to be honored and acknowledged while we’re there,” she said.

Youth teams

AIP 2024
The AIP ceremony was held at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse. Photo: Alistair Maitland/AIP

Four teams were also awarded prizes in the youth category, including the Youth Coalition 4 Food Security North.

Its $100,000 prize will go towards connecting youth with food initiatives across northern Canada.

“This is a project of love and compassion and for youth to be leaders in their communities,” said team leader Meesha Wittkopf.

The AIP is funded by the Arctic Inspiration Prize charitable trust, which is made up of Indigenous organizations, governments, industry and other partners from across Canada.

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