Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Final Reflections from Inari

By Lisa Dixon, 2nd year MDP student

I am in the final week of my international field placement and it’s hard to believe that in a few short days I will be leaving Inari.  Reflecting on my time here, I can say that while the placement was not without its challenges, overall it has been a great experience and I’m grateful I was able to come here and meet many people who allowed me to learn from them and ask unlimited questions!

L-R: Anna Morottaja, Lisa Dixon, Heli Huovinen, Suvi Kivela at the CASLE gathering

As I mentioned in my previous blog, my main project in Inari has been developing the English website for the CASLE program.  The project will continue in the fall with development of several documentaries and other video-based content. My partner and I wish we could of have been involved with some of the video content but we were able to accomplish quite a bit during the ten weeks.  My last night in Inari, we hosted a gathering that reunited students and Language Masters from the CASLE program to give updates on what they were doing since the program ended, in particular how they were using the Inari Sami language in their everyday lives. It also gave Heli and I an opportunity to showcase some of the work we had done on the website.  Although the content was in English and many of the Language Masters don’t speak any English, they seemed quite pleased to have some of the documentaries made during the cultural courses on the website.  We also greatly expanded the section on the Language Masters to include a biography, photograph, and an edited audio clip of them speaking Inari Sami. 

Mortensnes, Norway
Lisa presenting at Sacred Sites conference

Since my last blog post, things have been very busy.  At the end of May, I was able to go to Norway for a two-day trip with the Inari Sami Language Program. Inari is not very far from the Norwegian border but it has an incredibly different landscape, with mountains and water everywhere.  We went to museums and visited some beautiful sites on our whirlwind trip!

Inari was the host of a three-day conference on Sacred Sites and Culturally Important Landscapes in the middle of June.  There were Indigenous peoples from Canada, the U.S., Finland, and Russia involved in the conference as well as researchers from all over Europe.  The conference was an amazing learning experience and I was able to meet some great people doing some really important work.  I was also able to give a short presentation on the topic of Indigenous language in Canada and our program and the response was quite positive!

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