The Sami people of Lapland

North of the Arctic Circle the presence of the Sami is particularly felt. Their lives as nomadic reindeer herders is not so much evident, but the reindeer are – and where they are, there are reindeer farmers, such as this man at the reindeer farm we visited.

This image is from the Karasjok Sami Museum.

Once we were on Mageroya Island, reached by a series of tunnels, reindeer were often seen grazing on the low-growing alpine vegetation. There were many with calves at foot. I didn’t manage a photo, as the little brown ones were well camouflaged, and I was too busy looking at them all.

On our way to North Cape, we stopped at the Sami Museum in Karasjok. This town is the Sami centre, the place of their parliament, even though they spread across borders from Russia, through Finland, Sweden and Norway.

Our guide was a Sami woman.

Today in Alta, we visited the UNESCO World Heritage rock carvings site. Although it is not proven that it was early Sami who did these carvings, the reindeer herding images are a visual link for us as visitors. The reindeer fences, which we have seen, are an example of this link.

Teepees are scattered about the landscape throughout Northern Finland and Norway, often modern representations.

This later one is the headquarters of the people who make the famous ice hotel each year.

Again, here the Sami reindeer lifestyle is represented, if in an around-the-campfire way. Sami were more likely to be keeping warm around the fire inside the teepee.

3 thoughts on “The Sami people of Lapland

    1. Thanks, Ruth. There was interesting information about the shamans who, as depicted in the rock carvings, appear to be female. Symbols of a goddess and her three daughters, each representing different aspects of life, also caught my eye.


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