Sara Wesslin
Born (1991-11-08) 8 November 1991 (age 28)[1][2]

Sara Wesslin (born 8 November 1991) is a Skolt Saami journalist and news anchor from Finland and a strong advocate of the Skolt Sami language, her grandmother Olga's mother tongue. She took on the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture to secure funding from Finland for the Nordic Resource Centre for the Sami languages.[3][4]

In October 2019, she was one of the "inspiring and influential women" featured in the BBC's 100 Women.[5] Wesslin has used her media resources and access to popular culture to help revive the Skolt Sámi language. She has also focused on teaching it to women who she believes play a huge role in keeping the language in their family.[6] In June 2020, she was shortlisted for the One Young World Journalist of the Year Award.[7]


Wesslin, born in Finland in the early 1990s, is a journalist with the Finnish broadcasting authority Yle where she started to work in the newsroom in 2013. Based in Inari in the far north of Finland, she is one of just two journalists who currently broadcast on radio and television in the Skolt Sami language,[4] the other being Erkki Gauriloff.[8] She now writes stories and presents the news in Skolt Sami, Northern Sami, and Finnish.[9] Wesslin has assisted Tiina Sanila-Aikio, president of the Finnish Sámi Parliament, who has also contributed to the revival of the Skolt Sami language and culture.[6]

In 2006, few people under 30 could speak Skolt Sámi. In the intervening years Wesslin has promoted the use of the language in government, media, and in Finnish professional life.[10] When she was featured in the BBC's 100 Women,[11] Wesslin was surprised that she had been included, commenting: "When you think about the world nowadays, when endangered languages are dying all the time and disappearing, it’s kind of a privilege that I can do my work in Skolt Sámi which is spoken by around 300 people." She explained that television news in Skolt Sami had been welcomed by the audience, especially those who do not use the Internet, as they could now follow it in their mother tongue.[9]


  1. ^ Sara Wesslin (8 November 2019). "28 and still feeling like a kid on my birthday. Thank you, spä'sseb for all the birthday wishes". Instagram.
  2. ^ Vallinkoski, Anu (21 November 2019). "Koulukelauksia: Sara sai isoäidin kielestä ammatin" [School thoughts: Sara turned her grandmother's language into a profession] (in Finnish). Opettaja. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  3. ^ El Kamel, Soni. "Kolttasaamelainen toimittaja Sara Wesslin on valittu ainoana suomalaisena BBC:n vaikutusvaltaisimpien naisten listalle" [Skolt Sami journalist Sara Wesslin the only Finn chosen for the BBC's list of the most influential women] (in Finnish). Helsingin Sanomat. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b Sherriff, Lucy (19 February 2018). "In Finnish Lapland, it 'is a big struggle' to keep the Samis' native Skolt language alive". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  5. ^ Nilsen, Thomas (18 October 2019). "Skolt Sami journalist Sara Wesslin named one of the world's 100 most influential women". The Independent Barents Observer.
  6. ^ a b "These Sámi women are trying to keep their native Skolt language alive". PRI: GlobalPost. 16 February 2018. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  7. ^ Torikka, Xia (9 June 2020). "Yle nuõrttsääʹmǩiõllsaž tuåimteei Sara Wesslin lij eʹtǩǩuum eeʹjj 2020 nuõrr tuåimteeʹjen" [Yle's Skolt Saami journalist Sara Wesslin nominated as Young Journalist of the Year 2020] (in Skolt Sami). Translated into Skolt Saami by Tiian Sanila-Aikio. Yle Sápmi. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  8. ^ Pohjola, Tommy (12 December 2019). "Koltansaame oli katoamassa. Sitten Sara Wesslin alkoi kirjoittaa sillä uutisia. Journalisti tapasi Inarissa BBC:n maailman vaikutusvaltaisimpien naisten listan ainoan Suomen kansalaisen" [Skolt Saami was disappearing. Then Sara Wesslin began to write the news in it. Journalisti met the only Finnish citizen on the BBC's list of most influential women in Inari.] (in Finnish). Journalisti. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Sámi journalist named one of BBC's '100 women of 2019'". News Now, Finland. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  10. ^ Wesslin, Sara (30 November 2018). "A commentary from a Skolt Sámi journalist". Commentary. Independent Barents Observer AS. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  11. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2019: Who is on the list this year? Sara Wesslin". BBC. Retrieved 16 October 2019.

External links