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Sápmi refers to the traditional area inhabited by the Sámi people before the creation of the national borders of what is today called Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Reindeer and people have a connection that is thousands of years old in Fennoscandia. Archaeological sources such as hunting pits, stone carvings and settlement excavations speak to this connection. Stone carvings at the coast of Northern Norway also connect reindeer and humans more than 6.000 years ago. First by hunting, then domestication and herding. In 98 AD, the Roman historian Tacitus wrote about a people – Fenni –in Thule, who used fur clothes, hunted reindeer and travelled with skis. In 870 AD King Alfred the Great of England received the chief Ottar who lived inpresent day Norway, who, wrote Alfred, kept a herd of 600 «tame» reindeer and 6 decoy reindeer for hunting wild reindeer which he had received in tribute from the Sámi. The traditional areas of Sámi reindeer husbandry were divided between the borders off our nation states – Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia in the 19th and 20th Centuries, the effect of which has meant changes in traditional herding practices. The traditional unit of organisation in Sámi reindeer husbandry is the «siida». This is basically a grouping of one or more families, where the practical work related to reindeer herding is shared. Today, reindeer husbandry in the Sámi region is characterised by relatively large herds and a high degree of mechanisation in all regions. Reindeer are primarily used for meat production, while hides,bones and antlers are important for clothing and handicrafts. Recruitment to reindeer husbandry has been limited in Norway by various factors, a lack of available pastures among them. All animals in the Sámi area excluding Russia are privately owned, although many aspects of herding are practiced collectively in the siida system.

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