Reindeer herding is a traditional and, at the same time, a modern natural source of livelihood that supports living and culture of local population in remote districts in Northern Finland. Modern Reindeer husbandry produces healthy and tasty meat for consumption as well as significant income and well-being to reindeer herder families and people who are connected somehow to the reindeer husbandry by processing, marketing and selling of meat and other reindeer product or by tourism.
MEET THE SÁMI - FINLAND'S INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
Leave the clock behind and explore the vast expanses of the breathtaking Sámi homeland in Finnish Lapland, join in the festivals and activities of the locals, and get to know their way of life. We introduce you to just a few “Sámi things” you can experience over the course of a year.
The Sámi areas in Northern Lapland offer many year round outdoor and indoor activities, and close contact with the unique culture of the Sámi – the only indigenous people of the European Union. The Sámi live in the Northern parts of Finland, Norway and Sweden as well as in parts of North-Eastern Russia. In Finland, the Sámi population is approximately 10 500 strong, and the preservation of their endangered language and culture is governed by an autonomous Sámi parliament in Inari, Finland.
MEET NILS-MATTI - A REINDEER HERDER IN LAPLAND
Some people prefer winter to summer. Reindeer herder Nils-Matti is one of them.
Finnish Lapland is immense. It covers an area larger than the whole of Portugal, but the concept of Lapland is even larger. Many tourists think that they have reached Lapland when they have barely got halfway up Finland. The further north you go, the better you can understand the true meaning of Lapland. As you travel further north along the outstretched “arm” of north-west Finland, the coniferous forest gradually vanishes from the landscape and the birch trees shrink to a metre in height; the fells begin to rise around you in every direction and you find a silence unlike anywhere else on earth. You can see for miles but all you will hear is your own breathing and the snow crunching under your boots. Visit Kilpisjärvi, a small village in Enontekiö, and it’s easy to discover why tourists return year after year.
REINDEER HERDING – CENTRAL PART OF THE SAMI CULTURE
Reindeer herding is a central part of the Sámi culture. Get to know these semi-domesticated animals at reindeer farms, in the wild, or at reindeer races.
The traditional Sámi livelihoods are fishing, gathering, handicrafts, hunting and reindeer herding and the modern ways of practising them. Out of the traditional Sámi livelihoods, reindeer herding still functions as one of the important cornerstones of the Sámi culture by offering both language arena as well as material for, among others, clothing, other Sámi handicrafts and food culture. Ever since the development of reindeer herding, reindeer has been an important form of transportation. Today, the tourists can experience the traditional form of transportation in the form of reindeer sleigh rides in winter time.
According to the law, one is not allowed to disturb or frighten the reindeer in any way. Freely grazing reindeer in nature are semi-wild animals. Hence, please do not approach and, at the same time, startle the animal, for example, by trying to photograph it.