Toronto, ON – The Arctic Rose Foundation is delighted to congratulate its founder, Susan Aglukark, following today’s announcement by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) that she is the recipient of the 2022 Humanitarian Award Presented by Music Canada. Aglukark will be honoured at the JUNO Opening Night Awards Presented by Ontario Creates on May 14 in Toronto, Ontario.
Each year, the Humanitarian Award recognizes an outstanding Canadian artist or industry leader whose humanitarian contributions have positively enhanced the social fabric of Canada and beyond. Past winners include The Tragically Hip, David Foster, Gary Slaight, Buffy Sainte- Marie, Arcade Fire, Rush, Chantal Kreviazuk, Raine Maida, Tom Cochrane, Simple Plan, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, Paul Brandt, Tom Jackson and Bruce Cockburn.
Aglukark, a three-time JUNO Award winner, is being recognized for her exemplary dedication and hands-on work as the founder of the Arctic Rose Foundation, which provides Indigenous- led, arts-based and culturally-grounded after-school programs to Inuit, First Nations and Métis youth in Northern Canada.
“Susan is an incredibly passionate and driven person, and it shines through in how she has developed the Arctic Rose Foundation since its inception,” said Ulrike Komaksiutiksak, Executive Director of the Arctic Rose Foundation. “Her vision and quiet leadership have guided program development and enabled the Foundation to offer valuable and much-needed supports, while also building community capacity by providing employment and leadership opportunities for youth and Indigenous artists.”
Born in Arviat, Nunavut, Aglukark’s illustrious career as a singer-songwriter spans nearly 30 years. She is the first Inuk artist to win a JUNO, and a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for lifetime artistic achievement. She was named to the Order of Canada in 2004, and has held command performances for several global dignitaries, including HRH Queen Elizabeth, Canadian Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien and Brian Mulroney, and former South African President Nelson Mandela.
“Having had the privilege of working closely with Susan for a number of years, I am inspired by her unwavering passion, determination, and creativity. She is the reason the Arctic Rose Foundation has been able to achieve what it has and is the guiding force as we continue to work with our partners to deliver and expand programming and access to safe spaces in Nunavut and beyond,” said Jane Hamilton, Co-Chair of the Arctic Rose Foundation Board.
“Susan has realized her dream to create a foundation that is grounded in a dedication to Inuit and Indigenous youth and children to empower wellness, and to deliver cultural knowledge programming created by Inuit and Indigenous people, for Inuit and Indigenous people,” added Victor Tootoo, a member of the Arctic Rose Foundation Board.
Recognizing the role art played in her own healing journey from intergenerational trauma, Susan started the Arctic Rose Project in 2012, which grew to become the Arctic Rose Foundation after receiving charitable status in 2016. Incorporated in 2020, the Arctic Rose Foundation supports Northern Inuit and Indigenous youth through arts-based and culturally-relevant after-school programs. Youth are provided a safe space, an emotional outlet, and access to Indigenous leaders, artists, role models, and mentors to help them explore their own potential. Programs also support youth in addressing existing structural inequities and barriers that are faced in the North, which may include limited access to mental wellness services, health care, education, appropriate housing, healthy food, and clean water. Designed to be relevant to the unique cultural practices and realities of each community, the programs also help to bridge the identity gap that has contributed to the mental health and suicide crisis impacting many young Inuit and Indigenous people in the North.
The small but dedicated team behind the organization currently operate programs in three communities across Nunavut. They hope to one day expand the programs into every community in Inuit Nunangat, as well as to every Northern First Nation or Métis community that want the Foundation’s services.
For more information, visit www.arcticrose.org.
About the Arctic Rose Foundation
The Arctic Rose Foundation is a charitable organization that grew out of the Arctic Rose Project, started by Susan Aglukark in 2012. Officially designated as a registered charity in 2016, and incorporated in 2020, the Arctic Rose Foundation works to support Northern Inuit, First Nations and Métis youth through the creation of Indigenous-led, arts-based after school programs, as well as other engaging cultural and creative projects.