Anja and the Reindeer

IN THE MIDDLE OF SCENIC MITTÅDALEN LIVES AND THRIVES ANJA FJELLGREN WALKEAPÄÄ. SHE IS ONE OF FEY YOUNG SAMI WHO WORKS WITHIN THE REINDEEL FARMING BUSINESS IN FUNÄSFJÄLLEN AND HER FUTURE HAS BEEN STAKED OUT

Following her graduation from high-school in the spring 2012, Anja took a sabbatical to work with the reindeer.
– Daddy thought I should take part in everyday work and not just spend my time in theoretical studies at school, she says.
Following her sabbatical, Anja wants to study and become a certified forest officer before returning to reindeer farming. Working as a reindeer farmer is the best there is.

Long traditions
To live off what the reindeer can provide is the ancient lifestyle of the Sami and one not always compatible with how we today regard the right to the land and the use of its resources. The profusion of the 2000s in terms of technical aids, modern and comfortable vehicles have contributed towards changing the work practices of the reindeer farming Sami.

Was it easier in the old days?
– Well, I can’t really say. A fact is that humans have become lazier lazier, more aiming for comfort in life. Nowadays a lot of things
are different but not necessarily making it better in the old days.
I believe reindeer farming will continue well into the future but I wouldn’t like to guess to what extent. Anja thinks that everyone who wants to work with the reindeer in the future will have the opportunity to do so, as long as they have an ardent interest.

What are reindeer like?
– They have individual characters and it is particularly obvious in the ones we bring home for
winter. This year we have twelve on the farm and they have highly individual characteristics. One of the calves, not bigger than a dog,
told the senior reindeer off, it was great fun to watch.
– All the reindeer that we bring home to the farm are given names. I especially remember one of my reindeer I had as a child, her name was Maud.
Her mother had been killed by a wolverine so Dad and I brought her back to the farm. In those days we had a dog named Rupp and Maud, Rupp and I used to run around in the forest playing every day after school. Just imagine: a kid, a dog and a baby reindeer!

One last question, have you any
role models?
– Yes, I do. His name is Härje Andersson and I gladly go into the forests with him. He is
certainly someone I can lean and learn from.