File:Wikimania2019 logo.svg

"Can Wikimedia projects help Indigenous languages. If yes, then how?". Subhashish Panigrahi, O Foundation. CC-BY-SA-3.0.

“Can Wikimedia projects help Indigenous languages. If yes, then how?”. Subhashish Panigrahi, O Foundation. CC-BY-SA-3.0.

How to make the Wikipedia/Wikimedia movement a sustainable one? How to make an event like Wikimania—that brings together about a thousand individuals from all over the world—a carbon-neutral one? Wikimania 2019 came to Stockholm, Sweden to address some such pertinent questions along with bringing together more than 800 volunteers from all over the world that make Wikipedias in 300+ languages (and hundreds of other Wikimedia projects) a reality. The theme for this conference was Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 United Nations global goals for 2030. All the engagements at Wikimania moved around these 17 goals—this was the first time the Wikimedia movement joined forces with the United Nations in such a big scale.

Sailesh Patnaik and Subhashish Panigrahi participated the conference with multiple hats including the one as representatives of O Foundation. Out of many different ways we contributed to the event, we organized a panel discussion to brainstorm about preserving indigenous languages, Subhashish presented about a video tutorial project that he is leading as a volunteer for the Odia Wikimedians User Group, and he presented a poster on Wikimedia projects for indigenous languages. We also managed to meet many new friends and recorded seven of them speaking (and singing in) six indigenous languages. We organized a meetup for Wikimedia Indigenous Languages to brainstorm about the issues with indigenous languages on Wikimedia projects.

Panel: “Why indigenous languages matter more (now) and what we can do for them

Moderator: Subhashish Panigrahi; Panelists: Anass Sedrati & Kristen Tcherneshoff; live streaming courtesy: Daniel Bogre Udell
Note: We’ll soon publish the short film on Santali-language author and Wikimedian Maina Tudu. Please don’t forget to create a Wikipedia article on this amazing editor if you’re a Wikipedian.

Why indigenous languages matter more (now) and what we can do for them? Listen to our Subhashish Panigrahi moderating this session where Wikipedian Anass Sedrati from Wikimedia Morocco and Kristen Tcherneshoff from Wikitongues shed light on many different challenges and opportunities based on their experience. #wikimania2019 #wikimania #iyil2019 (video courtesy: Daniel Udell)

O Foundation – OFDN यांनी वर पोस्ट केले शनिवार, १७ ऑगस्ट, २०१९

Talk: “Behind the scenes of the Odia Wikipedia how-to video tutorials

Presentation by Subhashish Panigrahi (see more)

Talk: “How do you document indigenous oral history in an open way while still respecting community ethics?”

Presented by Subhashish Panigrahi


Sailesh and Subhashish also participated in the CivilServant Summit 2019, a research summit post Wikimania that was organized by CivilServant to engage with a small group of Wikimedians from across the world to brianstorm how Wikipedia communities design different community engagement practices for the projects, and test new ideas that can be implemented by the Wikimedia communities. We thank CivilServent for the invite and support. The shared notes of the discussions are now available whereas many of CivilServent’s ongoing research are listed on their website.

Last but not the least

  • We organized a meetup inviting Wikimedians who are either native speakers of indigenous languages or are supporting Wikimedia projects in indigenous languages. Eight Wikimedians joined and initiated a discussion around some of the vital issues with indigenous languages in general and particularly on Wikipedia/Wikimedia projects. This discussion led to the creation of a Telegram chat group, a new public Wikimedia Space category and the larger goal is to continue the discussion and help build collaborations and resources for indigenous languages on Wikimedia projects (see a Meta-wiki page dedicated for this activity).

Some of our recommended talks


Subhashish Panigrahi’s session ‘Behind the scenes of the Odia Wikipedia how-to video tutorials’ was an especially valuable and timely session to attend, because I am currently involved in producing videos for our library service to support users’ understanding of how to access and use the information and resources available through the library and more broadly online. I took away a lot of hints, tips and good practice principles about things like scripting, b-roll and editing that I’ll be putting to work immediately!

Lauren Smith. Wikimania 2019: Digital Support Librarian Lauren Smith reports on her first-time attendance at Wikimania 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden

What’s next?

  • We are currently editing and getting subtitled the interview videos of many friends who allowed us to record their beautiful languages. We will soon publish these videos on Wikimedia Commons and will link them here as well.
  • The indigenous language discussions are going quite well in the Telegram group and will now happen more on Wikimedia Space. We’re participating, listening, and taking the learning back to our Marginalized Community Council (MCC) while encouraring many non-Wikimedians in the latter space to contribute to Wikimedia projects. After MCC completes six months, we will publish a list of recommendations including the ones for Wikimedia community, and we believe that these recommendations will help shape future policymaking, digital and other resources building and most importantly building digital activism communities


We would like to thank Wikimedia Foundation and CivilServent for the kind support, Wikimedia Sverige and the volunteers at Wikimania who made us home, and the countless speakers and participants who we got a chance to listen to and learn from.


  • Wikimania2019 logo.svg. BFlores (WMF). CC-BY-SA-4.0
  • Wikimedia Indigenous Languages meetup at Wikimania. Subhashish Panigrahi. CC-BY-SA 4.0