Rescue a Heritage Language and a Handicraft !

A heritage language along with an ancestral handicraft are the most critical markers of the health of the community and versatility of the world! Those are, unfortunately, the ones that are being jeopardised in the modern world due to globalisation, assimilation, and industrialisation.

Within last 11 years the number of Tatar language speakers residing on their indigenous territories (modern Russian Federation) has decreased by 24%. It is over one million speakers less compared to 2010.

The picture is more dramatic with myriad of other minority languages according to the 2021 census that surveyed residents of Russian Federation. For example, among the ones populating the Volga-Ural region, the most endangered – the Mordvin language – lost 45% of the speakers. Although keeping the knowledge of regional and global lingua franca is important, it is critical to work together to protect all mother tongues, so caring, humane and vibrant community is a possibility.

  • If your mother tongue happens to be a lingua franca, then pick a language that is loosing speakers! Here is an exciting opportunity to start learning one of them – the Tatar! Take 8 weeks Tatar Language and Culture exploration course. It will be taught this summer (May 30-July 14, 2023) at Arizona State University and online. Take a dive to learn a new minority language:!
  • If you are interested to learn why it is essential to keep ancestral languages in use, consider reading the article by Brian McDermott, where he talks about Language Healers and the value of a heritage language as the most critical marker of the health of a community.
  • If you want to be inspired by the example, listen and support Carolina Cicha – a Poland’s singer and composer who uses the language of music to overcome existential crises and historical prejudice towards minority groups in Europe, particularly Lipka Tatars and Karaims.
  • If you are not into languages, learn a handicaft. Here is a suggestion: learn Tatar Leather Mosaic or “kayuly kün” ! The Tatar leather mosaic is a unique and impressive  alliance of the softest colorful leather cut into ethnic patterns and skilfully stitched together by hands. The pieces are aligned and attached to each other from the inside with the Kazan stitch  that looks like embroidery from the outside. To get inspired, just have a look at the bright leather flower design above that is stitched with vibrant silk threads and created by the prominent master of Tatar Leather Mosaic Nailya Koumysnikova who has contributed immensely to restoration, education and promotion of the unique ancient art.

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