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Reindeer herding in Norway has traditions going back over 1000 years, and is intimately linked with the history and practices of the Sami people in the northern parts of the country.
Even though reindeer herding is not glamorous work by any stretch of the imagination, it can be a thing of exquisite beauty.
This video, filmed by Jan Helmer Olsen, clearly demonstrates that point. See it, preferably in full screen and with the sound turned on:
The film is shot in Magerøya (Northern Sami: Máhkarávju), a large island in Finnmark county.
The most northern point on the island is Knivskjellodden, which is also the northernmost point in Norway. The island features a bleak, barren, tundra-covered landscape devoid of any trees (except for a few small pockets of mountain birch), with steep cliffs along the coast.
The soundtrack for the video is a traditional sami Joik.
Even though reindeer herding is an important part of life in Northern Norway, it perhaps doesn’t have the same high status in the rest of the country.
A group of Norwegian scientists now want to change this, and argue that reindeer herding should be given UNESCO world heritage status.
- Reindeer herding sustain an indigenous tradition rooted in the Sami language, they write in an articled published by the newspaper Dagbladet.
Meanwhile, Finnmark county, where Magerøya is located, has seen a rapid increase in tourism the last few years.
The increase was almost 15 per cent from 2014 to 2015, mostly thanks to more travellers from China and Australia, according to NRK.