The Inga family has been herding reindeer for 150 years; our ancestors moved their herds here from northern Sweden. We are Sámi, an indigenous Arctic people – and in Scandinavia only the Sámi herd reindeer. Today, roughly 7 percent of the Norwegian Sámi own reindeer.
We established Inga Sámi Siida in 2009, after several harsh winters with difficult grazing conditions for our reindeer forced us to bring a large part of our herd back home to our farm. We put up fences and fed our reindeer through the worst parts of the winter.
Vesterålen has steep mountains, and every year we have lost reindeer to snow-slides. Another danger is ice forming on the ground, which causes animals to starve when they cannot dig through to the lichen underneath. Reindeer feed is expensive. It occurred to us that visitors might enjoy meeting our reindeer, and that a modest price charge would help cover the cost of feed for our animals.
Today, Inga Sámi Siida receives travellers from all over the world, as well as all kinds of groups from nearby communities. Schools and daycare centres often bring groups of children to meet the reindeer. Laila handles this part of our businesses, which complements our reindeer husbandry.
Inga Sámi Siida
On our farm, we have built two wooden lavvo for our guests, to be able to offer overnight accommodation. In addition, our small shop Šoop-Šoop sells reindeer meat, reindeer pelts and antlers, Sámi knives and handicrafts (duodji).
During the summer, there is a photo exhibition in the old barn, documenting reindeer-herding throughout the year, which we Sámi divide into eight seasons. Also exhibited are traditional Sámi costumes and equipment.
Another feature, already mentioned, is the enclosure where you will have the opportunity to meet the reindeer.
When you visit Inga Sámi Siida, you will have an exciting encounter with Sámi culture. We’ll tell you about our life and livelihood, our amazing reindeer and our reindeer-herding traditions, Sámi legends and myths and magic. As we sit together around our fire, we will also share our joik, the ancient song of the Sámi.
Outdoors, you can try your hand at casting a lasso. And we invite you to enter the enclosure to meet our reindeer. Some of them are so tame they will eat right out of your hand! Naturally these are great opportunities to capture memorable photos.