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Wednesday February 3 2016 9 NORTHERNERS ARCTIC INSPIRATION PRIZE By CRAIG GILBERT TheS.andA.Foundationjustcannothelphav- ingalittlefunwhileitspendsamilliondollars. Funders of the Arctic Inspiration Prize had made it clear that the fourth annual awards wouldbeworth1millionastheyhadineachof thepreviousthreewithonetwoorallthreefi- nalistspotentiallytakinghomeapieceofthepie. This was the image in the minds of NWT Recreation and Parks Association NWTRPA executive director Geoff Ray and the rest of the folks representing finalists at the Ottawa ceremony on Jan. 27. So when they announced Nunavuts Bet- ter Hearing in Education for Northern Youth BHENY had earned 300000 the mental counting started and when the NWTRPA and itsYukonandNunavutcounterpartswerecol- lectivelyawarded600000nexttherepresen- tativesofNunavut-basedQaggiqNurturingthe Arctic Performing Arts thought it was all over. While it was super-exciting for us you could see the shoulders of the last group sort of deflate a bit because they were doing the math thinking they hadnt won Rae said. Then they came on and said they had found this extra half-million dollars to be able to give a prize to the last group 600000 as well. It was a very special night that way that three significant programs were recognized. The NWTRPAs winning submission was a joint venture between the Recreation and Parks Associations of Yukon and Nunavut called the tri-territorial training initiative and was designed to enhance individual community and environmental well-being through the power and potential of recreation. It was nominated by Whitehorse-born Olympic cyclist Zach Bell. Im a big cycling fan so to share a stage with ZachwasprettycoolRaesaid.Wegottohang outmostofyesterdayandhesareallyamazing guyandhesgotanamazingperspectiveonbeing anOlympianfromtheNorthandlearninginthe North and hes really dedicated to promoting andadvancingNorthernsportsandrecreation. Rae said they have been working on the idea to develop a 13-module online and in-person coursetohelplocalrecreationmanagersyouth leadersboardmemberscoachesfitnesslead- ers camp counsellors and after school leaders in the North develop enticing programs that make sense in their community. It will be about how to develop and deliver high-quality recreation and parks programs that have the potential to improve the qual- ity of life of people in their communities Rae explained.Theideaisthatrecreationhasthis potentialtoenhancephysicalmentalandsocial well-beingandhelpbuildcommunityandcon- nect people to their land and their cultures. It takes a strong recreation leader to take charge ofthattakeownershipandthegoalofourpro- gram is to provide people with the skills and knowledge to help them do that. Raewashumbledtohavebeenchosenawin- ner from what he saw as a very strong field. The Qaggiq art project will use its winnings to strengthen Arctic culture and subsequently improve resiliency self-worth belonging and pride through a coordinated strategy that includes artist mapping artist and teacher trainingcollaborativeperformanceandmen- torship and youth programming. Likewise the BHENY project for hearing in education hopes to improve the lives of youth with hear- ing loss through a multi-pronged approach in- cluding implementation of classroom-based sound amplification technology provision of professional development training and sup- port for educators through a virtual resource centre improvement of audiology services in the North and enabling parents and the com- munity to support the needs of children with hearing loss. To be included as a finalist in the AIP was significantinitsownrightRaesaid.Looking at the other two project overviews we thought we were in tough they were great ideas as well.Itsallimportantwork.Solastnightwhen they made the announcement we just started laughing. It was incredible. Tri-territorial training project takes Arctic Inspiration Prize By CRAIG GILBERT Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continued his campaign to refresh relations with indig- enous peoples across the country last week meeting with Inuit leaders at the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami ITK office in Ottawa. The ITK is the national organization rep- resenting Inuit people in Canada. Northwest Territories MP Michael McLeod was there along with Yukon MP Larry Bag- nell Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minis- ter Carolyn Bennett and Fisheries and Oceans Minister Hunter Tootoo. DescribedashistoricbytheITKthemeet- ing marked the first time a sitting prime min- ister had visited its headquarters. ITK Presi- dent Natan Obed was accompanied by the ITK board including Cathy Towtongie president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. Jobie Tukkiapik president of Makivik Corp. Sarah Leo presi- dent of Nunatsiavut Nellie Cournoyea out- going chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corp. and Duane Smith her newly-elected replace- mentRebeccaKudloopresidentofPauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada and Maatalii Okalik president of the National Inuit Youth Council. The meeting was Cournoyeas last official function after 20 years at the head of the IRC. I think she joked she had two hours left in her position McLeod said. Then Duane ac- tually officially took over. I think the meeting wasvery significant intermsofcontinuing our commitment to a renewed Inuit-to-crown re- lationship so I was happy to be a part of it. The meeting focused on three different areas as described by McLeod renewing the dynamic between the federal government and Inuit led the agenda followed by social devel- opment and economic development. According to the ITK Obed and other Inuit leaders addressed the primacy of Inuit land claims agreements as fundamental to the re- newed Inuit to crown relationship saying the full implementation of the land claims in the four Inuit regions would help address many of the social and economic development challenges facing Inuit Nunangat regions. They invited Trudeau and his cabinet to visit Inuit Nunangat and promised to pro- vide them with first-hand insight into life in their homelands. It was a good discussion and there was a lot of talk about trust and partnership-build- ing respect McLeod said. The prime min- ister indicated it was important for the Inuit to determine and make decisions alongside the federal government and in a lot of cases its not for us to decide on certain issues. Those were important words for all the peo- ple there to hear. The social development discussion explored suicide prevention education and food se- curity the economic development portion of the meeting covered skills advancement and training housing infrastructure needs and Arctic resources. McLeodsaidsuicidewasdiscussedatlength. We talked about strategies for prevention and mentioned that very young children are also committing suicide and thats an indi- cation that more focus has to be put on it he said. There was talk about children not completing school and things of that nature and mention of the residential school impacts. There was a lot of talk about the social is- sues and how that is a link to suicides even including food security. Some of the leaders indicated those things are connected. Obed said in a press release issued after the meetingthatfoodandshelterasbasicnecessities forlifeareessentialtocommunitydevelopment. We agree with the government that there needs to be a cognitive shift which acknowl- edges the importance of investing in - not just spending on - these needs he said. Inuit strength is in our unity and our pragmatism. We will continue to push for action on the pri- orities that we outlined at todays meeting. Trudeau attends historic meeting with Inuit leaders POLITICS INDIGENOUS PhotoscourtesyofS.andA.Foundation Governor General David Johnston with the Tri-Territorial Training project crew. Iqaluit performer Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory with emcee Peter Mansbridge.