Arctic Inspiration prize goes to NWT-based sexual health education program
Tanya Tagaq performs at Ottawa gala
OTTAWA — Hundreds of people packed Ottawa’s convention centre to see the Canadian Arctic’s best and brightest as part of the third Arctic Inspiration prize gala Dec. 10.
The $1 million prize was awarded to a Northwest Territories-based health research program called FOXY or Fostering Open eXpression among Youth.
The project promotes positive sexual health, leadership and coping skills among youth through art, traditional beading, theatre, digital storytelling and photography.
FOXY will use the Arctic Inspiration prize money to expand its sexual health programming to all three territories.
“The sexual health of northern youth is a serious public health concern, with extremely high rates of sexually-transmitted infections, adolescent pregnancy and sexual violence across the NWT, Nunavut and Yukon,” said Candice Lys, FOXY’s team leader, Dec. 10.
“We are thrilled to receive this prestigious prize that will support our team of youth, elders, educators, community-based researchers and artists to deliver sexual health education that is relevant and accessible to youth of all genders, in all three territories.”
In addition to the prize money, the FOXY team was awarded a sculpture, presented by its creator, Ivujivik sculptor Mattiusi Iyaituk.
FOXY was chosen as the sole recipient of this year’s award, selected from a group of four projects.
Those included the Inuvialuit Settlement Region Community-Based Monitoring Program, a solar energy project in Old Crow, Yukon and an interactive knowledge mapping platform in Hudson Bay.
FOXY was chosen by the Arctic Inspiration prize selection committee, whose membership includes former Nunavut premier Eva Aariak and CBC news anchor Peter Mansbridge, both of whom helped to emcee the Dec. 10 event.
Founded in 2012 by Arnold Witzig and Sima Sharifi, the Arctic Inspiration prize awards money to teams working on education, human health, social-cultural or environmental issues in the Canadian Arctic.
This year’s event featured a performance by Polaris Music Prize recipient Tanya Tagaq, who performed with throat singer Celina Kalluk and violinist Jesse Zubot.
The gala also heard from drum dancers Sylvia Cloutier and David Serkoak, along with Tlicho singer and songwriter Digawolf.