The world is changing constantly, and

such pictures will be important for posterity


The herd is living capital. Our money roams about. The nature directs wind, weather and the insticts of the reindeer.

Reindeer herding is a family occupation.

Several people must work at the same time.

It welds people together.

Johan is the boss of his family.  Everyone talks to him and asks for his advice.  The different generations work together.

During migration we follow the herds, in autumn and spring. In spring the females are pregnant, and we must not be to eager and push the herd too hard.

Nomadic reindeer husbandry means literally to follow your money. I have to live as the reindeer decide, and I can never plan anything.

        Aslak thinks like a reindeer. He

        knows  that when the wind blows

        in that directions, this is where

        the reindeer goes.

Isak collapsed suddenly. The same day he was to leave for Arnøy to round up the reindeer and to make the first preparation for autumn migration.

I want to follow my reindeer as long as my health is good and I can think clearly.

We who work with reindeer must have many

skills. We must work hard, have good hearing, eyesight and a good sense of directions.

I have no vacation, have had only once, for two weeks, in all my life. Vacation pay, sick pay, maternity pay I have never had

To photograph the reindeer herding is one of my most important documentary projects. I grew up in North Norway, but I completely lacked any knowledge of the Sami culture.

The project pays tribute to the elders of the siida, especially the women, and all their achievements. They have formed the pillars of the siida, representing the ancient Sami nomadic culture which is slowly disappearing.
The Sami women introduced and generously showed their life and culture. The project is a result of the knowledge I was given by them.

The book is in Sami, Norwegian and English. Published by Pax in 2001.


Grete Andrea Kvaal          Photo: Karen Anna Logje Gaup


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