Carleton Partner First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun Win Artic Inspiration Prize for Indigenous and Multi-disciplinary Studies and Research
February 22, 2021
The First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun (FNNND), in partnership with Carleton University, has been awarded the Arctic Inspiration Prize (AIP). The AIP is the largest annual prize in Canada. By celebrating and providing seed-funding to Northern teams with innovative project ideas, the AIP supports Northerners in bringing initiatives to life that bring about the changes they want to see in their communities.
The team is being awarded for their project “The First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun’s Food Sovereignty Hub” which seeks to be a capacity-building and empowerment project led by the FNNND, with project activities taking place in both Mayo, Yukon and at the FNNND Farm. It will result in the creation of a network of communal infrastructure and programming designed to meet the community’s food sovereignty and capacity development aspirations. A main objective of the project is to reduce barriers to accessing healthy and culturally relevant foods, while empowering individuals to be active participants in designing their own paths toward food sovereign futures.
“Winning the AIP is a massive achievement for our people and this project,” said FNNND Chief Simon Mervyn. “Building on the foundation of our working farm, we are now positioned to process our farmed and traditional wild foods, and more importantly we can train and educate our citizens using a combination of traditional culture and technology. The future is very bright for our sons and daughters, our grandchildren and neighbors, as we will all benefit in taking yet another step in our goal to achieving true food sovereignty.”
The AIP is by the North and for the North and is a community of people and groups, including Indigenous organizations, academia, governments, non-governmental organizations, industry, philanthropy, media and arts and culture organizations, who share a common goal: to recognize northern innovation and excellence and encourage teamwork for the betterment of life in Canada’s North.
“When Carleton President Benoit-Antoine Bacon signed the agreement between FNNND and Carleton last September, we couldn’t predict such an endorsement only five months later,” said Christopher Burn, Chancellor’s Professor of Geography. “The AIP is a far-sighted contribution to reconciliation and self-determination. It is a special symbol of trust that we were invited by FNNND to be part of their prize nomination, it is a great honour to have won the prize.”
A pillar of the AIP is to foster and/or nurture meaningful relationships between Northern and Southern partners, including those such as FNNND’s and Carleton’s MOU. This multi-disciplinary research partnership is centered around Indigenous and Northern studies, community and human development, post-secondary education, research and access for learners. Research projects and teaching programs designed and conducted through this partnership were co-identified by FNNND and Carleton. Traditional knowledge and non-Indigenous knowledge come from two distinct world views that together can inform and enrich research and teaching. Precedence was given to FNNND’s data sovereignty legislation that is currently under development, paramount to the Yukon Science and Explorer’s Act, and FNNND’s mirror legislation honouring ownership, control, access and possession principles, including retention of information.
The parties also respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and elements of FNNND’s Self-Government Agreement and Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP).
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