“The population in Nunavik is so young. It’s really, really time to invest in these younger generations…The will is there and I’m just very, very hopeful good things will happen from here.” — Alicia Aragutak
She may be young, but at 26, Alicia Aragutak has been around. She is currently the Executive Director of the Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre, in Kuujjuaq, where she helps facilitate a culturally sensitive treatment and healing process addressing the role that intergenerational trauma plays in addiction. She is originally from Umiujaq, but has travelled the world, including Peru, New Zealand, and South Africa.
On March 6, however, she was at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa where she was recognized as the 2020 Indspire Inuit Youth Award Recipient in a nationally broadcast event.
“Receiving the Indspire Award means so much to me, personally, it’s an affirmation for myself that I am an active member of our community. It is also very humbling and makes you want to do more. It’s a big break when often we are questioning ourselves as youth if we are doing the right thing, or if we are where we need to be,” Aragutak said a few weeks after the ceremony.
“The Indspire Award has uplifted me, encouraged me to continue what I like to do — mobilize and be attune to our communities. We need to cheer each other on and build on what an awesome population we have!”
During her time as the founder and first President of the Qarjuit Youth Council, Aragutak held Inuit youth consultations for all 14 Nunavik communities, creating pioneering programs to bring youth and elders together. She served as a Youth Ambassador for the Qanuilirpitaa? survey initiative, which examined the health of the Nunavik population, and also engaged in a regional Arctic Policy Framework roundtable, helping to bring a long-term vision for the Canadian and circumpolar Arctic.
“We are all proud of Alicia for receiving this award,” said Makivvik President Charlie Watt. “She leads by example. We know from her experience as President of Qarjuit, and now at Isuarsivik, she is inspiring youth across Nunavik, and beyond.”
The Indspire Awards represent the highest honour in the Indigenous community. Over 26 years, the awards have honoured 362 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis individuals who demonstrate outstanding achievement. The show is a nationally broadcast celebration of culture, showcasing the diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada, including performances by Canada’s biggest names in Indigenous entertainment.