New Inuktitut series aims to delight and instruct

Ukaliq & Kalla to launch online on NITV today

A new 13-part animated series from Taqqut Productions features Ukaliq, the impulsive Arctic hare (right foreground), and Kalla, the wise lemming (left background with the plate of bannock). It launches on Sept. 8 on NITV’s website. (Taqqut Productions)

By Jim Bell

Thanks to Taqqut Productions Inc. and the Nunavut Independent Television Network, the parents of Inuit preschoolers will gain online access to a new animated series that entertains and teaches.

The 13-part series, Ukaliq & Kalla, which features an all-Inuit cast of voices, is aimed at kids aged two to five.

You can start watching it today, through NITV’s website.

The two main characters are Ukaliq, an “excitable and impulsive” Arctic hare, and his sidekick Kalla, an “even-tempered and intelligent” lemming.

“Well-meaning but impatient, Ukaliq is always getting into trouble! He loves to play but he doesn’t always think things through,” Taqqut said in its publicity material.

In each 11-minute episode, foolish Ukaliq, voiced by Vinnie Karetak, often gets himself into sticky situations that wise Kalla, voiced by Thomas Anguti Johnston, must help him out with.

And it’s through Kalla that the series provides simple life lessons for kids.

“He is a good friend to Ukaliq, always there to keep him grounded, and when they go on adventures together, Kalla teaches Ukaliq traditional skills, reminds him to stay calm, and always helps by lending a hand when Ukaliq is in need.”

The show’s writers are Roselynn Akulukjuk, Neil Christopher, Champagne Brittany Choquer, Luke Coleman, Erik Blohm-Gagné, Nadia Mike and Nadia Sammurtok.

It’s directed by Roselynn Akulukjuk and Luke Coleman, with music from Pangnirtung accordionist Simeonie Keenainak and Baker Lake beat boxer Nelson Tagoona.

The show is based on the book “Ukaliq and Kalla Go Fishing,” written by Nadia Mike and published in 2018 by Taqqut’s sister company, the well-known book publisher Inhabit Media.

“To get the attention of Nunavut children, we knew we needed something fun and captivating, where the characters lived in a world similar to Nunavut. Ukaliq and Kalla was an idea born from that desire and the need to make something relevant to the North,” Neil Christopher of Taqqut Productions said in a statement.

Taqqut Productions, based in Iqaluit and Toronto, is the film production partner of Inhabit Media.

The Nunavut Independent Television Network, which is associated with IsumaTV of Igloolik, bills itself as “Canada’s first artist-run media centre located in a remote Inuit community.”

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by 2 tongue fool on

    is this series trying to teach english, french children Inuttitut? Brilliant. But if this is for encouraging inuit children who lost their own language, bust! Should be all inuttitut all the way.

    • Posted by Watchie on

      What am I missing? I just watched a whole episode and it was entirely in Inuktitut. And it focused on one syllabic, one sound, to help kids to think about the words they may already know and use, to help them to read and spell. It seems like a great little show for Inuit children. What are you talking about? Do you just sit there with your fingers on the keyboard, waiting to criticize anyone who has ideas and the actual motivation and drive to follow through on them? What have you done to help an entire generation of children feel excited and comfortable to speak Inuktitut? My guess is, you’ve done less than the creators of this fun cartoon.

    • Posted by parent on

      I have watched parts of this on anaana’s tent. Maybe that’s why you assume that they are speaking in English.
      This series is not being launched through anaana’s tent.

  2. Posted by How dare they fat shame that Avinga!? on

    Kalla means fat… it’s what all kids in Nunavut use to tease others. If a football team could change it’s name…

    • Posted by *Avinngaq on

      Kalla = fat? I am an Inuk who grew up in Igloolik with Inuktitut as my first language and traveled to different communities in the southern and kitikmeot region and I have never heard of the word “kalla”. Not all Nunavummiut have the same dialect. I understand “kalla” as a funny/cute thing and not a fat thing at all. “Anginngakallak!” “That cute and funny Avinngaq!”

  3. Posted by Marg Rys on

    About time indigenous stories came to light through the eyes of a child. Bravo!

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