Our paper focuses on new ways to address silence and feelings of sadness surrounding language and cultural loss in Indigenous contexts, sometimes resulting in deep inter-generational trauma. As a consequence of two Council of Europe conventions ratified by Sweden, Indigenous and minority language maintenance and revitalization was included in the Human Rights commitments of the Swedish state in 2000. Work in these fields led in 2010 to the establishment of the Sami Language Center with the assignment to find new ways to ascertain that all the Sami languages spoken in Sweden would survive and develop as part of the Swedish national heritage. We discuss methods used at the Center to tackle large-scale community language loss, mixed feelings, and emotional blocks resulting from a history of stigmatization and forced assimilation. We provide examples of how these methods have affected local communities and individual people, leading to deeper reflection on the revitalization process and what is needed to strengthen it. We also discuss new kinds of efforts needed to deal with emotions surrounding revitalization, and conclude that revitalization should be seen as a holistic task involving body and mind. Furthermore, the consequences of the fact that language revitalization is considered by some a “women’s issue” (while there is a great need of including more men in revitalization efforts) are also discussed in this article.
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Fjellgren, Patricia and Huss, Leena.
"Overcoming Silence and Sorrow: Sami Language Revitalization in Sweden,"
International Journal of Human Rights Education, 3(1)
Retrieved from https://repository.usfca.edu/ijhre/vol3/iss1/4