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Walking Challenge Review Update

Trigger Warning: This statement contains details about colonialism and residential schools which could be triggering to some. If you are a residential school survivor or intergenerational survivor, support is available by calling the National Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419. NWT residents can also speak with a trained responder for free by calling the NWT Help Line at 1-800-661-0844.


In 2021, the NWTRPA Board of Directors decided to temporarily change the name of the popular NWTRPA Walk to Tuk Challenge to the NWTRPA Walking Challenge as the organization was informed that the original name was offensive to residential school survivors, particularly because two of three children died walking to Tuktoyaktuk trying to escape a residential school in 1972.

The NWTRPA has recently formed a Walking Challenge Advisory Committee (WCAC) to provide a new name and review the program, ensuring that it aligns with the organization’s commitment to decolonization and reconciliation as stated in the 2018-2021 strategic plan: “The NWTRPA is working with intention to advance decolonization and reconciliation through its work, workplaces, and relationships.” The WCAC plans to carefully consider all options in regards to the Walking Challenge’s new name by spring 2023.

The NWTRPA aims to serve all NWT residents, hence after putting out a call to all NWT residents to join the WCAC, we’ve selected representation from each NWT region. We selected one person from each region and two people from the Inuvik region.

The WCAC was open to all NWT residents who have knowledge of Indigenous culture and history. However, preference was given to Indigenous peoples. In total, the WCAC is composed of six members; all who are Indigenous.

● Inuvik region: Annie Steen & Les Blake ● Sahtú:Hannah Taneton ● North Slave: Diane Gordon ● South Slave: Elizabeth Stirrett ● Dehcho: Christina Holman

We were thrilled to have many applicants for the WCAC, we would like to thank everyone who took the time to express their interest.

The NWTRPA has contracted Jennie Vandermeer Consulting to act as project lead and chair of the committee. Jennie is originally from Délı̨nę, NWT and currently resides in Tłegǫ́hłı̨ (Norman Wells). She has extensive experience in facilitation, Indigenous health & wellness, project management, leadership development, community engagement, and culturally appropriate communications.

The WCAC is planning to have their first in-person meeting in Tuktoyaktuk by the end of Fall 2022. We hope to organize a public information session in the community. More information will follow.

For any additional information, please contact Nuka de Jocas, Director Active Communities by email at or call the NWTRPA at (867) 669-8381


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