Luchkovich, Michael

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Luchkovich, Michael

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1892-1973

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Michael Luchkovich was born on November 13, 1892, in the mining town of Shamokin, Pennsylvania, USA. His father Ephraim and mother Maria migrated from the Lemko region of Ukraine to the USA in 1887. Unlike an older sister (he had three in all and one brother), he grew up with poor knowledge of Ukrainian until after his move to Canada in 1907. In the Autumn of that year, he enrolled in courses at Manitoba college, an affiliate at the University of Manitoba, as a grade 11 student. Later, he obtained a degree in political sciences at that university and in the process met with other 'firsts' in Canadian Ukrainian history: Jaroslaw William Arsenych, the first Ukrainian lawyer and judge; Orest Zerebko, the first Ukrainian Bachelor of Arts; Fred Hawryluk, the first Inspector of Schools; and Gregory Novak, the first Ukrainian doctor.

In 1917 he received a First Class Teacher's diploma from the Calgary Normal School and taught in districts heavily populated by Ukrainians in East-Central Alerta. In 1926 he was nominated as the United Farmers of Alberta candidate for the Vegreville federal riding and was elected by a substantial majority on September 14. He served two terms in Parliament (1926-1935) and joined the coterie of 'firsts' by becoming Canada's first federal MP of Ukrainian origin. The highlight of his parliamentary career came when he was appointed the only Canadian (and British) delegate to the Inter-Parliamentary Congress in Bucharest in 1931. After his tenure in office, Luchkovich, who had begun learning Ukrainian by keeping a nite-nook of Ukrainian phrases and idioms, had mastered the language well enough to be able to turn his attention to translating. In this regard. he is best remembered for his translation of Illia Kiriak's classic novel "Sons of the Soil." Having settled down in Edmonton, Luchkovich remained very active in local Ukrainian community affairs. A firm believer in multiculturalism, he helped prepare a brief on behalf of the Edmonton Branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee to the Commission of Bilingualism and Biculturalism in 1964. In 1965, he wrote his biography "A Ukrainian Canadian in Parliament: Memoirs of Michael Luchkovich" (Toronto: Ukrainian Canadian Research Foundation, 1965). Mr. Luchkovich died on April 21, 1973, and was survived by his wife Sophie (nee Nikiforuk), two sons, Myron Lusk and Denis, and a daughter Mrs. Carol Brown.

The biography is written by Serge Cipko:
Cipko, Serge. Michael Luchkovich Collection (Research Report N 49). Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, University of Alberta,1992.

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