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A Short guide for buying authentic hand made Sami craft in Lapland

Päivitetty: 7. marras 2018

The world likes responsible shoppers! Traditional Sami handicraft is exquisite and unique gift to take home with you because they have genuine cultural attachment to them. They are also sustainable and made from natural materials from local wood to reindeer fur and leather.

Sami crafts have a strong symbolic value for the Sami identity. Each Sami region have distinctive designs and special characteristics. They are made both by Sami men and women following handcraft traditions and coloring is based on natural colors. In Northern Sami language crafts is called duodji. Traditional Sami soft handicrafts include textiles and beadwork and much more. They are high quality and very warm to were in the cold Arctic climate. For example, traditional Sami shoes are made out of reindeer fur and keep you warm in the cold winter.

We listed few things that travelers should be aware of when shopping authentic Sami handicraft. Misuse and exploitation of different indigenous cultures happens almost every day and is difficult to control. Authentic Sami handicrafts are under threat because many travelers don’t see differences between cheap machine made copies (f.e. made in China) and authentic ones. When one buys fake Sami crafts it indicates a lack of respect for Sami culture and sustainable local business.

The best option is to buy Sami craft straight from the Sami. You can visit Sami winter markets where you can find autentic Sami crafts. You can read more about unique Sami festivals and markets in Lapland here. An another good tip is to look for authenticity tags. They help indigenous artists to protect and maintain control over their artwork. When buying Sami crafts from the stores you can look for Sami Duodji- label which is a guarantee for genuine Sami handicraft.

When you book your adventure with Visit natives you have a chance to buy authentic handcraft straight from your Sami hosts. They have made them at home, and the skills are learnt within the family. You may even see how they are made of and you will know where your money goes. Or they can advice you from where to buy them. By buying authentic Sami handicraft you will support the European Union's only indigenous people's culture and heritage.

We often got asked why authentic crafts cost more? The answer is simple. Traditional Sami crafts are made sustainable way from natural high quality products. Each item is made by hand and it takes time. For example, to make beautiful and warm traditional Sami reindeer fur shoes it takes a long time. Every detail of the reindeer fur shoe has a purpose and decoration show which area the shoes come from. After all, you will have a piece of indigenous art in your hands. We think that is a good reason to pay a bit more.

Psssssst… One thing more. Visit Natives will open an online store soon where you can buy authentic and high quality Sami crafts made by hand in the Arctic Circle. We will tell you who made the craft and where it was made, by a Sami. Always with love. We can’t wait to tell you more!

Traditional Sami shoes


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