The marking of the reindeer …
… at the beginning of the summer was, as usual, a spectacular event. Both north and south of Lake Altevatn the Sámi gathered thousands of reindeer to mark the two month old calves with the earmark of the owner.
The Saarivuoma Sámi gather their herd closest to Innset and are very active around here this summer. The area North of Lake Altevatn was used by them as grazing ground for their reindeer in hundreds of years before a contract with the Norwegian government did not allow that any longer. They lost the area as grazing ground between Dividal National park and the rivers Barduelva and Målselva in 1972 because of that contract.
For the Sámi reindeer owners did that mean a lot of work for the next 30 years because they did not only loose ground but also natural borders like the two rivers. Because of the contract they only had artificial border lines which existed on the paper but were useless in connection with reindeer. The animals follow their instincts and that means that they are going west in the summer, no matter if there exists a contract or not. The Sámi had to drive and keep them back with great effort.
The contract ended in 2006 and since then the Saarivuoma Sámi are fighting to get their original grounds back. And they do have a good chance to succeed. They argue that with the end of the contract the old agreements from 1751 become effective again which means that the Saarivuoma will get this area back as grazing ground. It seems like the law is on their side.
Around all this there was a lot of activity and the Saarivuoma Sámi used the Huskyfarm as a kind of “base camp” while working in the mountains with their reindeer and, at the same time, organizing demonstrations to make their point of view understandable. In return they invited us and the people who at that time visited the Huskyfarm to participate in the marking of the reindeer.