Inuit Language Training
The Canadian Studies Center is privileged to have two exceptional teachers of Inuktitut: Mick Mallon, expert linguist and foremost scholar of Inuktitut, and his wife, Alexina Kublu, a native Inuktitut speaker, teacher, and government official. The combination of their linguistic and teaching expertise with Kublu’s deep cultural knowledge creates a learning environment unlike any other. Together, they have developed innovative learning materials and one-of-a-kind textbooks that our students use throughout their studies. Students are given a thorough understanding of the structure of this challenging language and insight into the Arctic through Kublu’s stories and the couple’s experiences living in Iqaluit, Nunavut.
Mick Mallon is the preeminent Inuktitut language instructor in Northern Canada. He has been an Inuktitut instructor for the Canadian Studies Center’s Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellows since 2005. He has a long history of working with the territorial governments and Arctic College at Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, in developing and delivering language training. Irish by birth, Mr. Mallon came to Canada in 1954 as a teacher, and become dedicated to teaching and learning Inuktitut. His career began in 1968 when he was approached by the government of the Northwest Territories to set up an Eskimo Language School for the purpose of providing intensive Inuktitut as a Second Language to federal and territorial servants. In 1980 Mallon left this program to head up the Eastern Arctic Teacher Education Program in Iqaluit and to instruct the Inuktitut language classes. Since that time he has worked as an instructor for Arctic College and has developed, in conjunction with McGill University, the only textbook published on Inuktitut. Mallon has taught and developed texts in Inuktitut for the Government of Nunavut, the Katavik School Board (Nunavik), the Labrador Teacher Education Program, and the University of Greenland. In 2008, he was awarded the Order of Canada for his “pivotal role in preserving and revitalizing the Inuktitut language.”
Alexina Kublu was born in Igloolik and is a fluent speaker of Inuktitut. She received her Bachelor of Education Degree from the Nunavut Teacher Education Program, with additional training out of Chesterfield Inlet and Fort Smith. She is involved with the teaching of Inuktitut as a first and second language and develops Inuktitut language training materials. Ms Kublu has taught in schools in Igloolik, Arctic Bay, Cape Dorset and Arviat and served as an instructor in the Language and Culture Program at Nunavut Arctic College. She worked as an Apprenticeship and Government Staff Training officer with the Nunavut Dept of Education and as a Municipal Training officer with the Department of Municipal Affairs in Rankin Inlet. From 2009 to 2013 she was the Official Language Commissioner of Nunavut Territory.
Ms. Kublu is also a former Executive Director of the Kitikmeot Regional Council in Cambridge Bay, a former Executive Director for Atii Training Programs in Ottawa and a member of the organizing committee for the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (on which she served as a Board member). She was a volunteer and Board member for the Kamatsiqtut Nunavut Help Line, a Catechist in the Roman Catholic Church, Chair of the Akitsiraq Law School Society and a life member of the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum. Ms. Kublu is a certified Inuktitut/English interpreter and a member of the Canadian Interpreters and Translators Council. She served as Senior Justice of the Peace for the Nunavut Justices of the Peace Program for eight years.
Learn more about Mick Mallon and Alexina Kublu:
- “US university teaches students Inuktitut through funding prompted by Sputnik launch” (CBC News, January 2019)
- “How a rascally Irish immigrant became one of Canada’s top scholars of Inuktitut” (CBC Radio, November 2017)
- “The Irishman at the top of the world” (Raidió Teilifís Éireann, September 2017)
- Video: “Pisusuuq, the One Who Walks” (RTÉ Radio 1, 2017)
- “Irish Inuktitut teacher crossing borders with language lessons” (CBC News, December 2016)
- “It’s changing as we speak” (UpHere Magazine, July 2015)
- “UW students learning Inuit language with help of FLAS Fellowship” (UW, December 2013)
- Video: Mick Mallon at LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium (Isuma TV, 2009)
- Video: Alexina Kublu (Isuma, 2008)
- “Our language, our selves” (Nunavut ’99, 1999)