Astrid and Åsa from Norway: Knowledge Equity Calendar

Originally published at: https://space.wmflabs.org/2019/12/02/knowledge-equity-calendar-astrid-and-asa-from-norway/

Sámi activist Liv Inger Somby, journalist and scholar, at Riddu Riđđu-Festival 2019
Sabine Rønsen (WMNO), Liv Inger Somby at Riddu Riđđu festival 2019, CC BY-SA 4.0

December 2

For Wikimedia Norge the strategic direction with its priority of “Knowledge Equity” has guided our work to focus on two main topics: The first is the gender gap on the wiki projects. The second is increasing and improving the coverage of Sámi topics on Wikimedia projects in general and increasing the activity on the Northern Sámi Wikipedia in particular. 

Sámi knowledge and Sámi communities have been left out by structures of power and privilege in Norway. The Sámi, a group of indigenous people, have lived in the far northern regions of modern-day Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia for thousands of years. For much of that time, the Sámi have faced discrimination from those who have sought to control their lands and the problems inherent in working across the national boundaries of four different countries.

Astrid and Åsa from Norway
WMNOastrid, Astrid and Asa, staff at Wikimedia Norge (cropped), CC BY-SA 4.0

The last years, however, there have been some positive changes in the public on including and appreciating Sámi languages, history and culture. Wikimedia Norge wants to contribute  to these changes by partnering with Sámi institutions  and communities. The Wikimedia platforms are a great way of sharing knowledge on the Sámi cultural heritage and Wikipedia can be used as a language revitalization tool. For example, we are planning an education program for Sámi students in 2020 with funding from The Sámi Parliament in Norway. 

While working on the Sámi project, we have found the key to be taking the time to build new partnerships and show our long term commitment to this project. It has also been very useful to include existing GLAM partnerships in this work. Wikimedia Norge has no staff members and few volunteers that speak any of the Sámi languages, so we have to take care on how we can build trust and gain respect in our work. 

“For us, the Sámi people, digital platforms like Wikipedia are very important. My dream is that Sámi children across national borders communicate in Sámi languages, and common revitalization projects on the Wikimedia platforms are a great tool to reach that goal.”

– Liv Inger Somby, journalist and scholar, spoke at Wikimania 2019 about the Sámi people and bringing indigenous languages online

You want to know more?
* Blog post about Liv Inger Somby
* Youtube video of Somby’s presentation at Wikimania 2019

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Nurturing holistic bilateral partnerships and long-term commitment to preservation, honouring and growth are some ways we can attempt to reach for equity through Wikimedia projects with excluded and exploited communities, like indigenous people around the world. Go Astrid and Asa.

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