UN International Year of Indigenous Language – Sámi language video lecture on climate change and the Sámi people

The United Nations has declared 2019 to be the International Year of Indigenous Language. The goal is to highlight the importance of indigenous languages as part of the cultural richness of the world. The International Year of Indigenous Language is being coordinated by UNESCO, and the academic community is participating by organising lectures given in indigenous languages all around the world. This cooperation is being coordinated by the Translation Commons community.

Postdoctoral Researcher Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi from the Centre for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research (CERH) will be giving a video lecture on the topic of the Northern Sámi’s process of adapting to climate change. The lecture will be subtitled in English. The accompanying material for the lecture is available from the event’s website in both Northern Sámi and English. Näkkäläjärvi works in the SAAMI project, which is studying how the Sámi people are adapting to climate change.

"We study the holistic effects of climate change on the Sámi and want to participate in celebrating the Sámi and other indigenous languages", says Professor Jouni Jaakkola, Director of CERH. "In addition to the effects on health and well-being, the long-term effects of climate change threaten the Sámi language and culture. Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi's Sámi lecture on the impact of climate change on the Sámi is thus important and relevant for two different reasons – both for strengthening the use of the Sámi language and drawing attention to the cultural impacts of climate change", Jaakkola continues.

CERH has two research projects on the Sámi, which are available in Northern Sámi on the CERH website. The lecture will become part of the environmental health course offered by the University of Oulu, and CERH will continue its work to promote indigenous people in the academic world even after the anniversary year. CERH is currently the only Finnish academic partner participating in the International Year of Indigenous Language by holding a lecture in an indigenous language.

"Language is cultural memory and it is only retained and developed by speaking. The Sámi languages have very rich terminology related to observing the environment, but it is at risk of deteriorating due to changes in livelihoods and the natural environment. It is important that indigenous languages are continually developed and shown to be academic languages”, emphasises Näkkäläjärvi.

The lecture will be available from 31 October using the following links: 

Effects of Climate Change to Saami People, Part 1

Effects of Climate Change to Saami People, Part 2

Further information (SAAMI project description in Inari Sámi, Skolt Sámi and Northern Sámi): https://www.oulu.fi/cerh/saami

You can follow the involvement of the academic community in the International Year of Indigenous Language on social media: hashtags #Indigenouslanguages #WeAreIndigenous #IYIL2019 #Universities4IYIL.

Further information:
Postdoctoral Researcher Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi
Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research (CERH), University of Oulu
klemetti.nakkalajarvi(a)oulu.fi, tel. +358 (0) 46 96206370

Last updated: 1.11.2019