Going west for Arctic Inspiration

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The day of reckoning is drawing near and some huge cash prizes could await a couple of Cambridge Bay projects.

This colorful welded muskox represents one of two Cambridge Bay projects that have advanced to the finals in Arctic Inspiration Prize categories. Winners will be announced in Whitehorse next week. JoJo Trenholm photo

A delegation from the community will be travelling to Whitehorse next week for the 7th annual Arctic Inspiration Prize awards ceremony, to be held Feb. 12.

“Of course, that’s big news for us,” said Jim MacEachern, Cambridge Bay’s assistant senior administrative officer, adding that the monetary rewards would be “fantastic” to take the projects to the next level.

Uqarluta Inuinnaqtun – Let’s Speak Inuinnaqtun – spawned by the Kitikmeot Heritage Society, is one of three finalists for the $1-million grand prize. The aim of the project is to build partnerships among communities to spur increased use of the Inuit Inuinaqtun language among youth and to enhance their understanding of the local culture. It’s estimated there are fewer than 600 fluent Inuinnaqtun speakers remaining.

Vying for up to $100,000 in the youth category is From Scrap to Art, a welding project that guided at-risk youth, teaching them welding skills and boosting their self-esteem, as they created two iconic statues from discarded metal: one of a colourful muskox, the other of a fierce wolf. Andrew Kitigon is the team leader on that initiative.

Canadian philanthropists launched the Arctic Inspiration Prize in 2012. The Rideau Hall Foundation now manages the funds, which recognize Arctic knowledge and innovation.