Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pastor Explains How Church Worked to Save Sámi Language

Indigenous people meet in northern Norway nature haven

Mayor Kjell H. Saether heads the second largest municipality in Norway, taking up 5,464 square kilometers, and on this snowy day he greeted people from as far a field the deserts of Namibia and Australia as well as the rain forests of Brazil and Malaysia.

On arrival there was great excitement in the group of indigenous people seeing stunning natural vistas mixed with lakes, mountings, green forests and the season's first falling snow in a northern part of Norway close to the Arctic Circle where few inhabitants live.

Although the nature was very different to what they have known, for many of the 27 participants, sharing it with their hosts from Norway's Sámi people, an indigenous group living in the area, brought them closer together.

"Welcome to Karasjok and to the North of Norway. Enjoy this beautiful nature in the historical territory where the Sámi live," said Mayor Saether opening the consultation on 20 September.

Participants arrived from 20 different places throughout the world, such as from Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Malaysia, Namibia, New Zealand, Philippines, Sweden, the United States and others from LWF member churches or LWF field programs.

Aili Keskitalo, the president of the Sámi Parliament, emphasized in her speech, the meeting has assembled indigenous people from a variety of denominations.

Rev. Arild Hellesoy, Dean of the Indre-Finmark area, brought a message from the Church of Sámi and Bishop Per Oskar Kjolaas in which he referred to saving the language and traditions of Sámi people.

"The first translation of the New Testament into Sapmi was in 1996 and from this time we have a lot of work as missionaries in the northern part of Europe," said Rev. Hellesoy.

Comment l'Église a sauvé la langue Samie

Kjell H. Saether, le maire de la deuxième plus grande commune de Norvège (5.464 km2), a chaleureusement salué la venue des participants à à Karasjok, venant de plus de vingt pays dans le monde, dans cette contrée à la beauté sauvage.

Arild Hellesoy, vicaire général du diocèse de Indre-Finnmark, dans ses paroles d'accueil a, quant à lui souhaité, exhorter l'Église à la sauvegarde des langues et traditions des peuples indigènes, rappelant que la première édition du Nouveau Testament en Sapmi, en 1996, a contribué à la préservation de cette langue.


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