“Leäm kuärgaž što ouddprojekt vuäǯǯai äigga saaǥǥtõõllmõõžž sääʹmǩiõl vueʹjjest di uuʹdi vuäppõõzid mäʹhtt mij vueiʹttep viikkâd mij ǩiõl ouddårra da staaneed tõn kuõiʹtpeälla raaj/ I’m glad that we during the small-scale project started a discussion about the state of the Skolt Sámi and it gave us advice on how we can take the Skolt Sámi language forwards to the future and strengthen it on both sides of the border”, says Hanna-Maaria Kiprianoff, Äʹvv Saaʹmi muʹzei/Äʹvv Skoltesamisk museum.
The objective of the Interreg Aurora funded small-scale project Revitalization of Skolt Sámi language and culture was to find out the needs and expectations of the Skolt Sámi communities in Finland and Norway. The project strengthened the dialogue between Skolt Sámi communities and the municipalities. It contributed to promoting the fundamental rights of Skolt Sámi people who are a language minority in the programme area, increasing their involvement in influencing and deciding matters that directly concern them.
In May 2023, public meetings with Skolt Sami communities were organised in Sevettijärvi, Nellim, and Neiden. In addition, one remote meeting and online surveys was organised in Finnish, Norwegian and Skolt Sámi languages on the needs for the language revitalization and suggested activities in a new project. In total, about 80 Skolt Sámi people from Finland and Norway participated in meetings and surveys. The data on the needs for revitalization work obtained from the meetings and surveys is comprehensive.
The results of the meetings and surveys were discussed by the project partners, and individual meetings were also organized with other Sámi language and culture experts in Norway and Finland to plan a regular project. The regular cross-border project intends to address the most urgent challenges of the revitalization of the Skolt Sámi language, such as the critical lack of new speakers, human resources, learning opportunities and teaching materials.
The most important results of the small-scale project are:
- a comprehensive survey of the needs for revitalization the Skolt Sámi language and culture was carried out. The summary of information is available for viewing in Finnish and English. Please contact Inari municipality’s education director Ilkka Korhonen, email@example.com
- questions related to the revitalization of the Skolt Sámi language and culture are now more present in the municipalities of Inari and Sør-Varanger and the dialogue with the Skolt Sámi community was strengthened
- collaborative partnerships and versatile new contacts in the field of culture, education and research were created during the small scale project across the border of Finland and Norway
- the project application and the budget for a regular project were developed and the partnerships were confirmed. Funding for the regular project will be applied for in autumn 2023 from the Interreg Aurora programme.
Photo by Ville-Riiko Fofonoff, depicting quadrille dance in Sevettijärvi village celebration 2019.