Sametingspresidentens innlegg ble tolket til engelsk. Den engelske versjonen kan du lese her:
Thank you, mr/mdm Chair
I will bring my statement in Northern Sami Language, and there will be an interpretation of my statement.
I am Biehttar Heaikka Elle Máreha Aili, or Aili Keskitalo. I am the president of the Sami Parliament in Norway, and in the IYIL2019 Steering Committee, I represent the Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic Region, the Sami and the Inuit. I speak to you in Northern Sami, one of 9 different Sami languages, with about 30 000 speakers. All our languages are considered threatened, some of them severely threatened.
Article 13 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, establishes that indigenous peoples are entitled to revive, use and develop our languages. I am truly pleased that the UN has designated 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and we should use the year as a platform to implement the UNDRIP, because of the interconnection of the whole declaration. All the articles ty together and form a whole, just as our languages cannot be separated from our culture, our livelihoods, our homelands, our fate control.
Our mothers’ tongues are not simply a question of communication; they are closely intertwined with identity, cultural heritage and sense of belonging to something greater. Our languages are like sinews that ties us to our heritage and our ancestors; they might tear, but can be mended, with care, with love, and with lots of hard work.
To achieve this we need partnership, we need the support of the UN member states and UN agencies, of civil society and academia. We also need partnership with private enterprises who are providing the world with new ways of communication and sharing. I believe the languages of our ancestors also have to become languages of a world of communication through technology. We are facing a digital leap. Do not leave our languages behind; let us also use this year to start closing the digital gap between the major languages and Indigenous languages.
My hope half way through the IYIL, is that this year will help enhance the visibility and recognition of indigenous languages the world over. I would also like to remind us all that keeping our languages alive is the work of generations, and that Indigenous Peoples have delivered the message, among other through the UNPFII this year, that there should be a designated International Decade for Indigenous Languages.
I am hopeful. How can I not be? I am the mother of three daughters. My greatest joy in life is to hear my daughters speak the language of our ancestors to each other, and I live in the hope of someday hearing my grandchildren speak in Sami.
I would like to conclude by sharing with you a quote from one of our pioneers. Per Fokstad was one of the drafters behind a historic declaration of the need and benefit of instruction in Sami language to Sami children, 100 years ago, at a joint Sámi meeting in Deatnu.
He described the connection between human beings and language like this:
Giella lea váimmu dulka, sielu govva.
Language is the interpreter of the heart, the mirror of the soul.
Ollu giitu. Thank you.