Here you see Sami language challenge image by Outi Korhonen

Call to action – the Indigenous language challenge!

This year we celebrate the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages. The purpose of the year is to make the situation of the Indigenous languages of the world more visible. In order for the linguistic rights of the Indigenous people to be guaranteed and the languages ​​preserved and transferred to future generations, strong investments, knowledge and will to preserve the languages are needed.

The different Sámi languages spoken in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia, as well as the Inuit languages spoken in Greenland belong to Indigenous languages. Like many of the Indigenous languages ​​around the world, the Sámi languages and Greenland Inuit languages ​​are on UNESCO’s list of endangered languages. Some of the languages like the South, Lule, Inari, Skolt, and Kildin Sámi are defined as severely endangered, others like the Ume and Pite Sámi are seen as critically endangered and others like North Sámi, East Greenlandic/Tunumiit oraasiat and North Greenlandic/Qaanaaq Inuktitut are seen as definitely endangered. West Greenlandic or Kalaallisut is the official language of Greenland and it is defined by UNESCO as vulnerable.

Multilingual Month calls out to the Nordic organisations, institutions and individual agents on the fields of arts and culture as well as the educational field to participate in the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages by highlighting the situation of the Indigenous languages in the Nordic countries, by arranging events in relation to the theme, by spreading information in the Sámi languages and Inuit languages and by increasing contents and programs in Sámi languages and/or Greenlandic languages in their activities!

The Sámi and Greenlandic languages, literatures ​​and cultures should be made visible in the schools and universities in the Nordic countries, as well as in Nordic media and culture! We can all contribute in various ways to strengthen the visibility and awareness of the Indigenous of the Nordic countries.

Some ideas on how to promote indigenous languages in the Nordic countries

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In this picture you see Rita PaqvalenRita Paqvalén is the Executive Director of Culture for All Service. She has a background as a researcher and lecturer in Nordic literature and is one of the initiators of the Nordic research network DINO – Diversity in Nordic Literature.  Since 2013 Paqvalén and her team at Culture for All has been working with several projects related to multilingualism in the field of literature and culture in the Nordic countries, and has produced publications, as well as arranged several seminars and events in relation to the subject. Culture for All is the initiator of the Nordic Multilingual Month and one of the main organizers of the Finnish version of the month Satakielikuukausi.

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