The Last of the Reindeer Herders

Chronicling the struggle of Lapland’s Sami people, facing a challenge to their right to use ancient grazing land. Anders Kroik, one of the last of the Sami reindeer herders in Lappland must herd his reindeer to their winter grazing land or they would starve in an environment of minus 30 degrees, but for the past few years these forests have been at the front-line in the Sami’s battle for survival. Many of the traditional winter grazing grounds are now privately owned, and while the owners argue that reindeer cause damage to land they legitimately purchased decades ago, the Sami argue they have been herding reindeer in these forests for thousands of years. It has been a war of attrition accompanied by crippling legal bills for the indigenous Sami against the colonising forces of the Swedish settlers. If the Sami are unable to continue to use these final winter grazing area, reindeer herding will be brought to a forcible end.

The Last of the Reindeer Herders aired on Witness, Al Jazeera on 29 & 30th Oct 2009. Duration 21mins. View online below: