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Call to action – the Sámi 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. The three Sámi languages spoken in Finland - North, Inari, and Skolt Sámi - belong to indigenous languages. Like much of the indigenous languages around the world, the Sámi languages are also on the list of endangered languages.

In order for the Sámi people's linguistic rights to be guaranteed and the languages preserved and transferred to future generations, strong investments and knowledge and will are needed - even outside the Sámi hometown area. The Sámi languages and Sámi culture should be made visible in the schools, in the media and in the fields of culture! We can all contribute in various ways to strengthen the visibility of the Sámi languages and the Sámi culture. Read more about the Sámi language question in the newly published blog text for Multilingual Month by Gáppe Piera Jovnna Ulla/Ulla Aikio-Puoskari, the Secretary of Education for the Sámi Parliament of Finland.

Today we celebrate the Sámi national day in the Nordic region. On the occasion of the National Day and the UN's theme year, Culture for All publishes a new Sámi language page on their website and information on Sámi language and Sámi culture (in Finnish). The Sámi page is on North Sámi, but the content of the new webpage includes links and material also about / in other Sámi languages. Check out Culture for All’s Sámi-language page and content in Sámi here. 

Culture for All calls out to the entire arts and culture field as well as all its partners to participate in the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages by highlighting the situation of the Sámi languages, by arranging events around the theme, by spreading information in the Sámi languages and by increasing content and program in Sámi in their activities! 

How to do it 

  1. By learning phrases in Sámi. The poet Niillas Holmberg’s and Finnish documentary film maker Katri Koivula’s project Say it in Saami gives concrete help for different everyday situations – in all three Sámi languages! ww.sayitinsaami.yle.fi/ 
  2. By increasing knowledge about the Sámi people, Sámi languages and Sámi culture. The oktavuohta.com -site offers information on Sámi issues for educators and others interested. The site is produced by the Sámi Parliament and the Finnish National Agency for Education. The site contains information about Sámi national symbols, the different areas of Sámi culture, the Sámi community and important events and happenings through texts, images and videos. www.oktavuohta.com 
  3. By promoting Sámi literature and literature in Sami and by inviting Sami writers to talk about and read their own texts. Tips on how to promote the Sami literary field, among other things, can be found in Johanna Domokos report Čálli giehta ollá guhkás - A Writing Hand Reaches Further. Recommendations on the improvement of the Sámi literary field, which she has written and edited for Culture for All. The report (in English) as well as the recommendations for improving the Sámi literary field can be found in English, various Sami languages, Finnish, Swedish translated into Swedish, various Sami languages and Finnish can be found on the Nordic multilingual month's website at: www.multilingualmonth.org/publications 
  4. By expanding the material in Sámi language as well as the visibility of Sámi artists and cultural actors in communication and program content and by sharing events around the theme in social media. A recent example of this is the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Libraries Helmet’s Reading Challenge in North Sámi. The selection for the Sámi campaign has been made by the Sámi special library in Rovaniemi.

Buori sámi álbmotbeaivvi buohkaide! (North Sámi) // Pyeri Säämi aalmugpeivi puohháid! (Inari Sámi) // Šiõǥǥ saaʹmi meersažpeiʹvv pukid! (Skolt Sámi) 

In other words: Happy Sámi National Day!


Us all at Culture for All 

Verksamhetsledare Rita Paqvalén
040 674 3528 

Planner Christine Langinauer 
040 3533 234 

More information about Sámi language. 
More information on UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages.
More information on Culture for All.

An opended book, with a yellow sun in the background. A green bookmark lays on the book as a green river.
Image: Outi Korhonen
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