Protecting Indigenous languages is important, not only because it allows communities to maintain their traditions and livelihoods, but because languages are intimately tied up with questions of identity, tradition, cultural history, and memory. Perhaps most importantly, they allow knowledge to be passed on from one generation to the next.
In Resolution A/RES/71/178 adopted on 19th December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed that 2019 would be the Year of Indigenous Languages. The goal of this endeavour is to raise awareness of how Indigenous languages are threatened, how many have already been lost, and to highlight the urgent need to preserve, revitalize, and promote Indigenous languages. From language revitalization and cultural stabilization to personal stories about learning Indigenous languages and understanding new cultures, those languages offer different avenues for understanding the Arctic through the eyes of its peoples.