The Sunday Edition

How a rascally Irish immigrant became one of Canada's top scholars of Inuktitut

Mick Mallon came to the Canadian Arctic 60 years ago from Ireland. He has dedicated his life to learning and teaching the Inuktitut language. Janna Graham's documentary is called, “Pisusuuq — The One Who Walks.”
Mick Mallon, pictured here with his wife Alexina Kublu, came to the Canadian Arctic 60 years ago from Ireland. He has dedicated his life to learning and teaching the Inuktitut language. (News North)
Listen22:19

This segment was originally broadcast on November 26, 2017.

When Mick Mallon found his way to the Arctic, he knew he had arrived.

He left his home in Belfast, Northern Ireland, six decades ago, as a young man with a bachelor's degree and a love of languages. And he has never looked back.

A teacher and linguist, he has dedicated his life to learning and teaching the Inuktitut language.

Mick is one of the country's top Inuktitut scholars.

He's written text books on how the language works. He trained Inuit in their own language, to become educators and leaders. When he can, he still teaches at the Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit and online through universities in the United States.

In 2008, Mick was awarded an Order of Canada medal for his contribution.

Mick Mallon is now 84 years old. He needs a cane to amble the tundra behind his house, overlooking Frobisher Bay in Iqaluit. His passion for Inuktitut and for the North burns as bright as ever. But these days, he's also turning to his Irish roots, and discovering another language to master and to champion.

Mick Mallon received an Order of Canada medal for his contribution in 2008. (CHRIS WINDEYER)
 Janna Graham's documentary is called Pisusuuq — The One Who Walks.

Click 'listen' above to hear the documentary. 

Please note: the original version of this documentary was commissioned by RTE Docs on One.