Visiting the Land of Sami and Reindeers

Europe's northernmost indigenous people

For most people a trip to northern Norway, Finland or Sweden means viewing the famous northern lights, but these Scandinavia countries have so much more on offer than just their spectacular light shows. They house Europe's northernmost indigenous people and showcases snow filled landscapes dotted with Reindeers.

The Sami people (formally known as Lapps or Laplanders) have dated back to as early as 98 A.D. They can still be today found inhabiting

the northern regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. It is suggested that the term Lapp in Scandinavian languages refers to "a patch of cloth for mending" which could possibly be descriptive to the Sami's traditional "gakti" clothing.

Traditionally these Sami people have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing (amongst the Norwegian Sea Sami) and reindeer herding (amongst the mountain Sami).

Despite having been previously discriminated by these European countries, the Sami people are the only individuals that today can legally herd reindeer due to their cultural linage. Just over 2800 Sami's are considered reindeer nomads for herding on a full time basis.

Historically, reindeers provided the Sami with a means of transport, source of food and fur to keep warm from the bitterly cold weather of the Arctic. Today, it is their main source of income.