Walter O'Toole

BA, English, Inuktitut, Summer FLAS 2014
Walter O'Toole


I am a undergraduate student at the University of Washington, majoring in English and minoring in Arctic Studies. Through the Canadian Studies Center at the Jackson School, I spent the 2013-2014 academic year studying Inuktitut with Mick Mallon and Alexina Kublu, via online videoconferencing. This summer, I was awarded a Summer FLAS Fellowship, and with it the opportunity to continue my study of Inuktitut. It was my great fortune to have these summer lessons include three weeks of class above the Arctic Circle, in Igloolik, Canada. My time spent in Igloolik was a cultural immersion as well as an intensive language course, and it was incredibly fun. Traveling across the sea ice and camping were highlights, and in these contexts, the intimate connect between the language of Inuktitut and the Arctic environment reveals itself. These experiences will help immensely in my future study of Inuktitut, which I will most certainly need for this notoriously difficult language. I hope to use my knowledge of the Arctic and Inuktitut to help increase global awareness of climate change, and the danger it poses to the Arctic environment and its people.

Studying the Inuit Language in Igoolik, Nunavut!