This scholarship honours the legacy of the late Hon. James W. Bourque, PC. Born in Wandering River, Alberta, Bourque was of Cree and Métis background. At the age of 18 he was elected president of an association of hunters and trappers in Fort Chipewyan before working as a park warden in Wood Buffalo National Park from 1955 to 1963. He served as president of the Métis Association of the Northwest Territories from 1980 to 1982, was deputy minister of renewable resources for the government of the Northwest Territories from 1982 to 1991 and chairman of the Northwest Territories' Commission for Constitutional Development.
In 1984 he founded the Fur Institute of Canada, serving as its chairman for four years. He was named co-director of policy for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People in 1994. On July 1, 1992 he was sworn into the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.
The Arctic Institute of North America was created by an Act of Parliament in 1945 as a nonprofit tax-exempt research and educational organization. Originally based at McGill University in Montreal, the institute moved to the University of Calgary in 1976. In 1979 the Institute became part of the University of Calgary as a university research institute.
Our mandate is to advance the study of the North American and circumpolar Arctic through the natural and social sciences, the arts and humanities and to acquire, preserve and disseminate information on physical, environmental and social conditions in the North.
In 2005, the institute celebrated two important milestones AINA's 60th birthday and its 30th anniversary at the University of Calgary.
For a more detailed history of the Arctic Institute of North America, please see Research Associate Robert MacDonald's publication on AINA's history, which appeared in the December 2005 issue of Arctic.