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Cultural Exchange between Sami Visitors and Royal Academy Gaelic Pupils

04/06/09

The Sami people of Northern Sweden struck a note with pupils at Inverness Royal Academy's Gaelic department when a recent visit to the Inverness school highlighted parallels between the two cultures. a group of 16 pupils and three teachers from Kiruna, Sweden's most northerly town, spent an afternoon with the Royal Academy's Gaelic Medium pupils and the two groups enjoyed an informative exchange about their respective cultures.

The Sami people come from Northern Sweden, Russia, Finland and Norway, speak their own Sami language and are educated in their own schools through that medium. To compensate for past oppressions, the respective governments now make special efforts to promote the Sami culture and language.

The Sami visitors described their culture and education through the medium of their own language and also told of the mining town of Kiruna with its unique ice hotel.

They were then entertained by Royal Academy pupils who provided a themed picnic of dumpling, oatcakes, crowdie, fudge.... and of course Irn Bru! Entertainment included Gaelic singing from second year pupil Sally Swanson and piping from Daniel MacDougall of third year. The gathering took place at the invitation of Bòrd na Gàidhlig who were promoting the visit.

"There are quite a few parallels between Sami culture and Gaelic culture and the ways in which they are promoted and sustained within their respective homelands," said Gaelic department teacher Lena Walker. "It was fascinating to spend the afternoon exchanging so much cultural information and I think both groups of youngsters - and teachers too - will be a lot better informed as a result."

Further information from Lena Walker (01463 222884)

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