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2019 NWTRPA Award Winner: Joanne Ogina

For over 20 years the NWTRPA Awards Program has been celebrating and recognizing recreation professionals and volunteers in northern communities for their efforts and achievements in promoting recreation and active living for all northerners. This feature of Joanne Ogina is the first in a series of profiles of the 2019 NWTRPA Award Winners. Joanne is the 2019 winner of the Honourary Life Membership Award for her work in Ulukhaktok, NT.


Joanne has contributed immensely to the recreation and parks field on community and territorial levels throughout her lifetime for the benefit of her community, and all of the NWT. While working as the recreation coordinator for the Hamlet of Ulukhaktok for nine years, Joanne changed the sphere of recreation within the community; she developed and offered many programs for the youth and Elders, ensuring everyone in the community had opportunities to lead a healthy lifestyle regardless of age.

Whether she was organizing the Billy Joss Golf Tournament, the Kingalik Jamboree, fishing derbies, or community events around the holidays, Joanne demonstrated excellent leadership, bringing the community together to ensure events were a success.

Joanne Ogina leafing through a magazine during the YOUTH: Hope’s Garden: How to Start a Community Garden session during the 2016 NWTRPA Annual Conference. (Photo: Tara Marchiori)

Joanne and her collaborators received the NWTRPA Innovation Award in 2014 for Tumivut, a project that brought together young Inuvialuit with experienced hunters, Elders, and sewers to learn how to travel and hunt during shoulder seasons and how to prepare and sew with caribou skins.

As the regional director for the Beaufort Delta on the NWTRPA Board of Directors from 2013-2015, Joanne was a strong representative for her region and a thoughtful, considerate, and generous board member.

In addition to bringing a much-needed perspective to important governance processes, including a strategic planning process and a governance review, Joanne always brought country food to meetings to share with the other directors and staff.

Joanne also served as a board member with the Aboriginal Sport Circle of the NWT from 2013-2018. During her time with the ASCNWT, she helped strengthen and grow the organization.

Some of Joanne’s notable achievements during her term include: steering the Board and multiple committees to help the ASCNWT develop policies, create a stronger board of directors, and hold the organization accountable; helping create the Traditional Games Championships, a tournament that provides youth aged 10-12 the opportunity to learn the history and culture of Arctic Sports and Dene Games, which is now going into its 8th year; and helping to develop three separate territorial sport organizations: Archery NT, Northern Games NT, and Dene Games NT.

Why is recreation important to you?

Recreation is important to me because it keeps people active at any age and in any form they are able to keep active.

What are your favourite ways to stay active?

Walking, driving ATVs, and ice-fishing (including chiseling ‘n scooping or augering the fishing holes!) because these activities get me out on the peaceful land. I like to go across Minto Inlet.

What is one random fact about yourself?

There are many lakes I would love to fish in—I just have no time! Uyagaktok is my favourite place to fish!

What would be the hardest thing for you to give up for a week?

Fishing and travelling on the land.

If you could have any superpower what would it be?

To heal illness!


To learn more about our Awards Program and past award winners, click here.


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