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Data used to compile the information for this analysis came from a wide variety of sources both official and academic. Each of the CAFF countries where possible provided statistical information. The Indigenous Peoples organisations (Permanent Participants to the Arctic Council) provided information and further to these sources academic publications were utilised.
Uploaded on Tuesday 21 Feb 2012
Trends in speakers of Arctic indigenous languages (1989-2006)
Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
Language not only communicates, it defines culture, nature, history, humanity, and ancestry. The indigenous languages of the Arctic have been formed and shaped in close contact with their environment. They are a valuable source of information and a wealth of knowledge on human interactions with nature is encoded in these languages. If a language is lost, a world is lost. This deep knowledge and interconnectedness is expressed in Arctic song, subsistence practices, and other cultural expressions but especially in place names across the Arctic. Place names of the indigenous peoples reflect subsistence practices, stories, dwelling sites, spawning sites, migratory routes of animals, and links to the sacred realms of the indigenous peoples of the north. From surveys it was possible to consider changes in populations for 47 languages. Of these, 36 had populations of fewer than 10,000, and 18 had population levels of 1,000 or less. Nineteen populations experienced decreases in size ranging from 5–50%, the majority of these being located in the Russian Federation. This implies either a decline in indigenous populations or alternatively a change in the methods used for census survey. The indigenous population which experienced the greatest increase in net population were the Inuit.