Darlene Nuqingaq hopes to run an afternoon school music program for Iqaluit-based youth, and now she is a little closer to that dream.
The project that Nuqingaq helps to work on is among the finalists for the $ 1 million Arctic Inspiration Award (AIP). Her project, with the help of Naiome Eegeesiak, aims to hire and mentor Inuit youth as music instructors and mentors to young Inuit musicians to become music leaders in the community, according to a press release from AIP.
The project also aims to provide professional development for teachers and students after Nunavut High School to incorporate Inuku traditional music into their curricula.
Each year, AIP evaluates teams in the North working on “innovative” projects in the fields of education, sustainable housing, health, performing arts, traditional knowledge, language and science, according to a press release Friday.
There is a $ 1 million prize pool along with up to four prizes with a maximum of $ 500,000 each, and up to seven youth prizes up to $ 100,000 each.
For Nuqingaq, president of the Iqalu Music Society and founder of the Iqalu Fiddle Club, it would be a chance to add more important cultural music opportunities to young people across Nunavut.
Those programs may include Inuit drum dancing, which gives children a sense of beating and rhythm in their body, she said. The throat singing the body’s “natural instrument” and traditional Inuit children’s songs will also be included.
“I have seen first hand the power of music education to increase literacy programs,” she said, adding that “it would be nice to have a Nunavut-based music education program.”
“As we have consistently seen in the 25-year history of the Iqalu Music Association, music builds resilience and provides hope,” Nuqingaq said, adding that it is also a natural way to build leadership skills and help increase people’s confidence.
“Music has the power to move you from feeling sad to feeling happy,” she said. “I think, especially during these uncertain times of COVID[-19] we need symbols of hope. “
AIP is owned and operated by the north-run AIP Charity Trust. Supported by indigenous organizations, governments, industry, philanthropy and “many other partners from the North and South”, according to the organization. Support for its management is provided by the Rideau Hall Foundation.
The $ 1 million finalists are:
- Ilagiitigut anngiangijaqatigiinnirq ilurqusivuttigut. The team leader is Jessica Tooma, coordinator of the Inuit Values and Practices Department, Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Center in Kuujjuaq, Que.
- “Imaa, Like this”: Children and Youth Expressing Myself With Music. Team leaders are Naiome Eegeesiak and Darlene Nuqingaq. The project is based in Nunavut.
- Northern Center for Justice, Dignity and Leadership. The team is led by Ann Maje Raider, executive director of the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Association in the Yukon.
The $ 500,000 finalists are:
- Dene Ahtht’e: Reconstruction of the Local Economy in Dehcho. The leaders of the team are Herb Norwegian, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Edhzhe in the Northwest Territories. Niqihaqut, led by Jimmy Oleekatalik, manager of the Hunters and Trappers Spence Bay Organization. The project is based in Nunavut.
- Tusaajuit, led by Tunu Napartuk, Director of Complementary and Compassionate Services, Kativik Ilisarnilirinic, and his project goal is within Nunavik.
- First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun Local Food Sovereignty Center. The team leader is Sonny Gray, owner and CEO of North Star Agriculture in the Yukon.
- Training for Young People in Sharing and Co-producing Ethical Knowledge to Advance the Preservation and Direction of the Indigenous, North. The team leader is Norma Kassi, director of co-research at the Canadian Mountains Network. The project aims at the Yukon, NWT and Nunatsiavut.
The $ 100,000 finalists are:
- Artspace, led by Cat McGurk, president of Makerspace Yellowknife.
- West Arctic Youth Team led by Alyssa Carpenter, co-founder and project director. The project area is in the NWT Inuvial Solution Region.
There will be three regional selection committees for the Yukon, NWT and Inuit Nunangat (Inuit Homeland in Canada), made up of Northerners “representing different sectors and communities, reviewed and selected nominations from their regions,” notification.
The committee’s recommendations will go to the AIP National Selection Committee, which will select and announce the Laureates at the 9th AIP Annual Ceremony, set to be broadcast across Canada in February 2021.
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