Inside the Rush to Preserve Indigenous Languages


A good puppet has to be liked, so Binnabannas was given a pair of friendly brown eyes, a set of uneven blue antlers, and leather shoes with red trim and curled toes reminiscent of samiske komagers, the traditional reindeer skin shoes worn by the Sami, the indigenous people of Northern Europe…Binnabannas’s main goal is to keep the Sami language alive in the next generation, but the character may also have a more subversive social role: demonstrating that indigenous culture is alive and growing in a world that has either forgotten or shown open contempt for its original people…Tamie Sue Runningen of NRK Sapmi says, “When [the children] see some of the generalizations and challenges that the Sami people have had in history, or any other indigenous people have had in history, that they’ll have a little better understanding of what that is and why some of those fights were important.”

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