THERE’S NOTHING UNUSUAL about the school at Sevettijärvi. Inside, the students look and act like any other group of kids, but these children stand in the front line of a struggle to save a language, and possibly a culture, from extinction.

They are the youngest speakers of Skolt, one of the three minority languages spoken by Finland’s Indigenous Sámi. Listed as “critically endangered” in the UNESCO Red Book of Endangered Languages, Skolt Sámi is spoken by just 300 people, most in their old age. “When I was at this school, there were 100 students,” says teacher Seija Sivertsen. “Now ...


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