Alta: 23rd March 2013.
In order to see reindeer, we had to visit the Sami. We had been told beforehand that the people were the ‘Sami’, and the land they lived in was ‘Finnmark’. ‘Lapp’ and ‘Lapland’ are considered rather derogatory these days … although, since I got home, I’ve seen visitors to Finland and Sweden use these words in their articles and blogs. So, is this just a Norwegian thing, or are the writers using words their readers might more readily recognise?
Anyway, the establishment we visited is called Boazi Sami Siida (www.sami-siida.no) and here, Håkon Kristian Haldorsen, his wife and his sister show us the traditional costumes, and demonstrate the Sami reindeer herders’ way of life.
I think what struck me most was the brightness of their clothing, all obtained from natural dyes. I suppose that’s largely for practical reasons, so they can easily be seen against a usually drab background.
Not all Sami are reindeer herders, though … some of them are fur trappers or fishermen, while a few herd sheep. But, we only saw the reindeer side of things. And, of course, we saw reindeer!