Everyday life

  • “You have to be interested in nature to be successful in this industry,” says Nils-Ola Parffa.
  • “Many have a dream that their children will perhaps takeover, I did too. At the same time I understand that it's not certain to happen.”
  • “Reindeer herders are I think pretty resilient in a way.”
  • “It’s not just a question of us learning the new situation – the reindeer also have their routines. They go where they are used to going.”
  • “When we have roundup we spread out hay to gather the reindeer. Then we move on.”
  • This area is still used for reindeer herding – the traditions live on. Photo: Carl-Johan Utsi
  • “Muttos is good land for the reindeer, they find forage among these spectacular rocks for example. At the same time it's a paradise for predators, it’s the downside. You have to live with it and make your sacrifices.”
  • “I do this to lead a rich life, even if it's hard work and tough sometimes. It's quality of life, quite simply, you have to do what you enjoy doing.”
  • “I'm becoming more and more aware of the importance of hanging lichen. It's salvation for me and my reindeer. The life of the reindeer depends on hanging lichen. There aren't many reindeer herders who get to see a forest of hanging lichen these days.”
  • “If the forage gets worse, the reindeer spread out, and finally there are just single reindeer running around, desperately digging in the snow here and there.”

The Sámi people have lived in these mountains and forests for thousands of years. The sun and the wind govern people’s lives. The reindeer give their lives so that people may have food and clothes. Our settlements, our grazing land, our history and our memories are here. A few barely-visible stones in a ring on the ground are a hearth, a fireplace that is someone’s home for a time. The place where they rest, and find warmth and light. Everything in nature has a spirit and humans are just a small part of something greater.

Today, Sámi from nine Sámi communities live and work in Laponia. They follow the reindeer herds on their seasonal migration to find food. The Forest Sámi move with their reindeer in the forest, while the Mountain Sámi’s reindeer move between the forest in the east and the mountains in the west.