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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 10 February 2017 > BLOOD AND TUNDRA


Indigenous reindeer herders are finding new ways to reinvigorate their culture


DEAR DEER: A Sami herder moves his stock to new grazing in Sweden. For the indigenous people of the Arctic Circle, reindeer are both food and a cultural pivot point.

IT IS Sara Aleksandersen’s job to stir the blood. As Issat Turi, her uncle, cuts up the reindeer he has just slaughtered with a knife stroke to the throat, she kneels down, the cream of her reindeer-skin coat only a few shades darker than the snowy tundra around her. Sara is 15. Like generations of Sami youngsters before her, it is her responsibility to keep the blood in the bucket moving, to prevent the precious crimson fluid from coagulating. “For us, the reindeer is everything,” says Turi. “We don’t waste a bit.”

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