The Sámi people have specialized in semi-nomadic reindeer herding inside the Arctic Circle for generations. In this clip from Reindeer Family & Me, via BBC Earth, wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan takes his first sleigh ride across the winter landscape in Finland.
Known as the reindeer people, the Sámi were traditionally nomadic, relying on their precious animals to help them survive the Arctic’s harsh winters. Gordon lives with a Sami family in Finnish Lapland to experience their unique culture and to learn about their special bond with reindeer.
He works to earn the trust of his own reindeer companion, before leaving behind his adopted family and setting off alone into this land of ice and snow. With only his reindeer to guide him, but armed with the knowledge of his hosts, Gordon wants to immerse himself in this frozen wilderness and attempt to witness the natural phenomenon the Sámi most revere – the magical northern lights.
Wikipedia notes that “For traditional, environmental, cultural, and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved for only Sámi people in some regions of the Nordic countries.”
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• Fly over a herd of reindeer near Kautokeino, Norway
• Arctic Cowboys: Hitch a Ride with Reindeer Herders in Finland
• How Do Reindeer and Elk Get Their Astounding Antlers?