On Monday, Norway launched Sami Language Week, aiming to bring the Sami languages into the public spotlight, increase knowledge of these Indigenous languages and enhance their status.
“I encourage everyone to take part in this important language effort and join in the marking of Sami Language Week,” Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Erling Sande said.
Various events centered on the Sami languages will take place across Norway this week, including an open-air photo exhibition held in Oslo by Sande’s ministry. Sande said he expected the events to have a wide outreach.
“I urge private and public institutions, organizations and other stakeholders to shine a spotlight on the Sami languages this week,” he said.
The Sami people are also an important part of Scandinavia’s pre-Viking days.
The hunter-gatherers inhabited northern parts of Europe (Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia) for around 5,000 years. They weren’t reindeer hunters until much more recently, however.
The Sami people… pic.twitter.com/ukOnvi40zI
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The Sami are an Indigenous group predominantly found in the region of Sapmi, spanning significant northern portions of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia’s Kola Peninsula. Their native tongues, known as Sami languages, are categorized under the Uralic language family.
In June, Norway’s Parliament adopted changes to the language rules in the Sami Act. The most important change is that the administrative area for Sami languages is divided into three categories, which will make it easier for several municipalities to become Sami language management municipalities.
“Whether the municipality has a large Sami population or not, through these rules we want to facilitate the strengthening and visibility of the Sami languages. The indigenous language is an important part of our history and culture that we must protect,” Sande said.
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