(The posters above show how the Sami were portrayed in the media in times past. On the left is a German travel agent’s poster, on the right is an advertisement for a film about a Sami woman, Sami Laila, made in 1929)
Sami people from all backgrounds have a close relationship to the natural world. In the inland districts of the north, and in specific inland areas of the south, such as Røros, reindeer herding is the most common traditional Sami way of life. To many people, reindeer herding is synonymous with the Sami. The media often portray the Sami as wearing the traditional outfits, kofte or gakti, of inland Finnmark and taking part in the reindeer herding. The reality of the situation is a good deal more complexed. Fishing is an important Sami activity. The Sea Sami, living along the coast of northern Norway, were experienced fishermen, using techniques centuries old. Further south, the Sami were farmers, much in the same way as the ethnically Norwegian population. Also in inland areas, fishing in rivers was an important means of gathering food for the siida, was was collecting berries and other edible plants when in season.
Below, you can read some more about reindeer herding and fishing, and the traditional Sami relationship to nature.
North Sami – reindeer herding – moving with the flock – siida – reindeer husbandry – restrictions due to boundaries
Fishing practices – sea Sami + fishing on river. Verdde relationships.
Collecting berries, making reindeer cheese (recipe)