Culture and Heritage/PWNHC

Minister's Culture and Heritage Circle


The Minister's Cultural Circle was created in 2011 to honour the efforts of residents who work to strengthen the arts, cultures and heritage of the Northwest Territories. It was renamed the Minister's Culture and Heritage Circle in 2013.

The purpose is to provide lasting recognition and gratitude to those who contribute to the preservation and promotion of arts, cultures and heritage in the Northwest Territories. The Culture and Heritage Circle helps build awareness among all northerners about the importance of promoting, protecting, preserving and celebrating our unique culture, heritage and ways of life.

Award Information

Each year an event is held to honour the individuals who are selected to receive the Minister's Culture and Heritage Circle Award. Recipients are chosen on a nomination basis and nomination forms can be downloaded here.

Please download a nomination form if you are interested in nominating someone. 

Eligible Recipients:

  • Youth Category - Youth, 25 years of age and under, who demonstrate a strong commitment to engaging in the arts, cultural learning and cultural practices.
  • Individual Category - Individuals who demonstrate a strong commitment to preserving and promoting culture through participation in various arts, culture and heritage-related activities.
  • Elders Category - Elders, 50 years of age and older, respected for their contributions of practicing, promoting, guiding, teaching, leadership, vision, or hands-on participation in the areas of art, culture, heritage and language.
  • Group Category - Any organization, corporation, institution, organizing committee or social club that plays a lead role in developing and supporting activities that celebrate, promote or preserve the arts, culture and heritage.
  • A Minister's Choice Award is also given to a person or group at the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment's discretion.


  • Must be a current resident of the Northwest Territories (except where awarded posthumously)
  • Must have made a significant, long-term contribution to the arts, culture and heritage.
  • Must be independently motivated by a genuine desire to make a difference.

2019 Recipients

  • Corbin Sinclair - Youth Award
  • Karen Novak - Individual Award
  • Alfred Taneton - Elder Award
  • Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre - Group/Organization Award
  • Mildred Edwards - Minister's Choice Award

Past Recipients

2018 Recipients:

  • Alice Twa - Youth Award
  • Tishna Marlowe - Individual Award
  • Joanne Tetlichi - Elder Award
  • Old Town Community Association - Group/Organization Award
  • Designated Gwich'in Organization, Fort McPherson - Minister's Choice Award

2017 Recipients:

  • Dang-Dang Gruben - Youth Award
  • Kiera-Dawn Kolson - Individual Award
  • Catherine Bell Sanguez - Elder Award
  • JBT Dance Group - Group/Organization Award
  • Dene Nahjo - Minister's Choice Award

2016 Recipients:

  • Jessie Campbell - Individual Award
  • Marilyn Maring - Youth Award 
  • Edward Oudzi - Elder Award 
  • Open Sky Creative Society - Group/Organization Award 
  • Sandra Ipana - Minister's Choice Award

2015 Recipients:

  • 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am NWT Youth Ambassador - Youth
  • Jeanna Graham of Hay River Reserve - Elder
  • Berna Beaulieu of Behchokǫ̀  - Individual
  • Yellowknife Ukrainian Association - Group
  • Vivian Edgi-Manuel of Fort Good Hope - Minister's Choice Award

2014 Recipients:

  • Janelle Nitsiza - Youth
  • Camilla Tutcho - Elder
  • Rene Fumoleau - Individual
  • Foster Family Coalition of the NWT - Group
  • Deninu K'ue First Nation - Minister's Choice Award

2013 Recipients:

  • Justin Memogana of Ulukhaktok - Youth
  • Emily Kudlak of Ulukhaktok - Elder
  • David Gon of Behchokǫ̀ - Individual
  • Gwich'in Social and Cultural Institute - Group
  • Yellowknife Choral Society - Minister's Choice Award

2012 Recipients:

  • Doris Taneton of Deline - Youth
  • Lillian Elias of Inuvik - Elder
  • Melaw Nakehk'o of Fort Simpson - Individual
  • Tlicho Imbe Program - Group
  • Jean Harry of Sachs Harbour - Minister's Choice Award

2011 Recipients: 

  • Evan Tordiff of Fort Smith - Youth
  • Abel Tingmiak of Inuvik - Elder
  • Ben Nind of Yellowknife - Individual
  • Aklavik Delta Drummers and Dancers - Group
  • Chief Jimmy Bruneau School: Trails of Our Ancestors, Behchoko - Minister's Choice Award