Renskiljning Foto Leif Milling
Separation of reindeer into winter groups in the county of Västerbotten. Photo: Leif Milling

Reindeer as a livelihood

Reindeer husbandry is a central and very important trade in Sami society. The trade is not only a way of achieving an income - it is also the bearer of a long cultural tradition and a Sami identity.

Reindeer herding is intimately connected with Sami culture, and is a tradition that extends a very long way into the past. Over thousands of years it has developed from the hunting of wild reindeer to modern-day reindeer herding. Even today, however, the rhythm of reindeer husbandry is governed by nature, as the reindeer follow the natural pasture all year round. People in general and reindeer herders in particular have to give consideration to the reindeer and to nature, not the other way around. The job of the reindeer herder is to be the reindeer's protector and to create good conditions for earning a livelihood from his trade.

Constantly on the move
The reindeer roam and are moved from one grazing area to another within each sameby. The grazing areas have different properties that make them suitable for reindeer husbandry at different times of the year. Special migration routes, which are often very old, are used to move the animals between the different areas. Apart from these routes the reindeer herders also use enclosures to gather, separate, mark and/or slaughter the reindeer. The work with the reindeer is adapted to the animals' natural behaviour, as well as to weather and grazing conditions. Reindeer husbandry is sensitive to interference from other land users and predators. It is especially important not to disturb the reindeer in the spring at calving time. They are also sensitive to disturbance at other times of the year, for example during migration. If they are disturbed in a narrow passage such as crossing a road, the whole herd may scatter, which involves a great deal of extra work for the reindeer herders.

Relaterat

Renskötselrätt, Ulrika Geijer, SSR.
 
Sapmi i förändringens tid. En studie av svenska samers levnadsvillkor under 1900-talet ur ett genus- och etnicitetsperspektiv. Andrea Amft. ISBN 91-66466-28-0.

Intressant

Renen
och samisk kultur
renskötseln är intimt sammankopplad med den samiska kulturen och har traditioner mycket långt bakåt i tiden.

4000
det finns ungefär 4000 renskötselföretag i Sverige.

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Hur
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