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Two Nunavut programs among finalists for Arctic Inspiration Prize

A program that builds on the longstanding Iqaluit Music Camp will get a second shot at the Arctic Inspiration Prize's $1-million top award and a Taloyoak initiative to build the social economy through country foods will vie for the $500,000 prize.

The 10 finalists were announced this morning and the winners will be recognized at a ceremony held in February.

Oona Hipfner, front left, and Jaia Healey-Akearok, front right, are among the youth who have benefitted from the Iqaluit Music Camp's programs.
photo courtesy of Arctic Inspiration Prize

Imaa, Like This: Children and Youth Expressing Themselves Through Music, led by Naiome Eegeesiak and Darlene Nuqingaq, is an extension of the Iqaluit Music Camp.

"This project aims to teach Inuit children music, employ Inuit youth as music instructors, mentor Inuit
youth musicians to become community music leaders, and provide professional development opportunities for Nunavut educators and post-secondary students on integrating traditional Inuktut
music into their programs," states a Friday news release from the Arctic Inspiration Prize.

Imaa, Like This finished second last year to Northern Compass, a pan-territorial program that assists high school students in finding their way to colleges, universities or other training programs. This year there are three finalists in the hunt for the $1-million prize – the other two contenders are based in Nunavik and Yukon.

In Taloyoak, Jimmy Oleekatalik, manager of the Spence Bay Hunters and Trappers Organization, is spearheading Niqihaqut, a project to "develop a new model of social economy and food sovereignty anchored in sustainable and innovative harvesting, and the processing and use of country foods, all guided by Inuit values. It hopes to provide local incomes, contribute to healthier diets, and help preserve local knowledge," according to the Arctic Inspiration Prize.

Niqihaqut is among a field of five competitors that will be seeking the $500,000 award.

The Arctic Inspiration Prize recognizes projects in the fields of health, education, sustainable housing, performing arts, traditional knowledge, language and science. It's owned and governed by the Northern-led AIP Charitable Trust and supported by Indigenous organizations, governments, industry, philanthropy and the Rideau Hall Foundation.