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Traditional knowledge in Sámi reindeer herding related to reindeer welfare, handling of animals and Sámi food culture is rich. In EALLU, reindeer herders’ traditional knowledge and scientific knowledge about slaughtering, processing of meat, conservation of meat will be investigated to find out if there are two sphere of knowledge affecting reindeer herders ability to adapt to rapid change?

It is important to document traditional food-culture within reindeer herding communities to maintain the knowledge embedded in the language of food used. A major part of Sámi reindeer herders’ diet is reindeer meat and other parts from reindeer in different varieties; smoked, cooked, dried and roasted.

By focusing on traditional food culture and scientific knowledge in reindeer husbandry, there might be new ways of developing the economy of reindeer herders by highlighting the traditions within food and use of reindeer and that way gain recognition for the traditional ways of harvesting, storing and preserving reindeer meat, using traditional knowledge navigating for future sustainability.

Outputs from this part of the project will include:

  1. A study of Sámi reindeer herders’ traditional methods to kill reindeer for local food production related to season, category of reindeer (calves, spáillit, rotnu), herders value (árvvut) and traditional knowledge and scientific knowledge reflecting specific food cultural requirement, animal categories and seasons – two ways of knowing about slaughtering of reindeer.
  2. Sámi reindeer herders two spheres of knowledge about the tenderness of reindeer meat.
  3. Reindeer herders specialized language about the anatomy of reindeer, muscles, tendons and skeletons – their stories and knowledge.
  4. Comparative investigations of different traditional methods to preserve and store reindeer meat, bone and blood for local food production in Sámi reindeer husbandry based on herders value (árvvut) and traditional knowledge reflecting specific food cultural requirement, animal categories and seasons, including stories connected to the bones and meat (Biehtarašdilljá, gánis) of reindeer and how they express knowledge about animal welfare and herders cultures and world view.
  5. Sámi traditional butchering technics compared to modern standards of slaughtering reflecting two ways of knowing and their effects on meat, blood and fat quality.

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