Peoples of the tundra: the Lapps

The Samis, normally known as Lapps, live in a very wide territory stretching from the coasts of Norway to the peninsula of Kola, in Russia.
They live in a particularly harsh environment in the heart of their lands: at Karesuando, in Sweden, the temperature may drop down to 45° below zero. The Samis are nomadic shepherds and their economy is based on reindeer rearing. Their nomadic life is due to the reindeers’ dietary needs. These big herbivores mainly feed on slowly-growing lichens, so they need very large areas to survive. The Lapps follow their animals, as they move in search of new pastures. The origin of the Samis is not perfectly known yet: some say they are European, while others say they come from Asia. The nomadic groups of Lapps still live in reindeer skin tents that look like those of native Americans. Dinner is their main meal. Traditional Sami dishes are mainly made of reindeer meat and fish.
Reindeers for life
Reindeers are the only tamed animals. They were the basis of many people’s economy, and entire Lapp families still live on what this big herbivore can offer. Food, hides, beverages, horns and bones, used to make tools, are obtained from reindeers. They are also used for transport.

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