At the end of October, Obinitsa — Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture 2015 and a cultural centre of Seto people in Estonia, became the meeting place for Finno-Ugric language activists. Over 30 community and cultural leaders as well as academics shared in the hospitable Seto kitchen their favourite recipes for preserving and revitalising indigenous languages.
Participants of the second working meeting of the project “SANA 2019: Civil Society Network for Preserving and Revitalizing Indigenous Languages” shared good practices of language activism, held a seminar “Finno-Ugric Kitchen Talk: How Traditional Cuisine Supports Finno-Ugric Languages” and conducted a workshop “Finno-Ugric Language Kitchen” in three Finno-Ugric languages: Seto, Karelian and Livonia.
The idea of “Finno-Ugric Kitchen Talk” was to provide language activists and the general public an understanding of how kindredness of small-numbered Finno-Ugric peoples, their languages and cultural, including culinary, heritage, can help us understand each other across national borders. The informal atmosphere of the working meeting enabled free exchanges about common challenges standing before small-numbered indigenous languages and ways to overcome these challenges. Experts of the working meeting included language activist and journalist Natalia Antonova (Republic of Karelia), Livonian cuisine expert and tourism entrepreneur Dženeta Marinska (Latvia), Livonian language expert Zoja Sīle, Võro language expert Sulev Iva (Võru Instituut, Estonia), writer and editor of “Setomaa” newspaper Kauksi Ülle, Saami politician and language activist Pentti Pieski and others. Thanks to the ongoing Finno-Ugrian Days in Estonia project participants were also able to meet with a delegation from the Udmurt Republic (Russia).
Representatives of partner organisations of the SANA 2019 project discussed project-related topics, including preparation of the online publication of good Finno-Ugric language activism practices, ongoing mini-grant competition for Finno-Ugric language initiatives as well as preparation of next working meetings in Leningrad Oblast and Inari (Sápmi/Finland).
On October 28, SANA 2019 team presented the project to participants of the interim conference of the World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples held in Värska (Setomaa / Estonia). Project partners invited Finno-Ugric activists to participate in the mini-grant competition and the interactive publication. NGOs, informal associations and private persons can apply for mini-grants for language preservation and revitalisation initiatives until November 10, 2018. Detailed information about the mini-grant competition, online publication and other events related to SANA 2019 is available on project partner websites: www.etnoecho.ru, www.nuorikarjala.ru, www.uralic.org.
The project “Civil Society Network for Preserving and Revitalizing Indigenous Languages” unites organisations for preserving and revitalizing indigenous languages in the Baltic Sea Region and supports the goals of the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The project will partly overlap with the UN-proclaimed International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019, to the implementation of which project partners will provide substantive contributions as well as learn from worldwide good practices. The project brings together the following 7 partner organisations: Association “ECHO” (Karelia) as the lead partner, Centre of Support and Public Diplomacy of Indigenous Peoples “Young Karelia”, the Karelian Language House (Republic of Karelia), the Community of the Small-Numbered Izhorian People (Shoikula), Centre for Development of Indigenous Peoples “URALIC” and Seto Cultural Fund (Estonia) and the Saami civil society organisation “Giellabalggis” (Finland). The project is funded by the Baltic Sea NGO programme of the Nordic Council of Ministers.