Traveler interview with Rosem: Reindeer calf earmarking experience in summer
Päivitetty: 11. marras 2018
The reindeer calf earmarking period is a very special time to visit the Sami reindeer herders and to participate and observe in this unique tradition where each Sami reindeer herder have his/her own earmark for their reindeer. These unique earmarks are made of different cuts which form a unique pattern in a reindeer calf’s ears soon after its birth. There are around 20 different approved cuts in addition to some 30 different combinations of cuts, which have their own names. The meaning of the earmarks is to identify the owner of the reindeer. A Sami reindeer herder can read different variations in earmarks and he can name the owner. In addition, the earmark affords herders a means to secure reindeer property and to minimize reindeer losses, as reindeer are semi-wild animals and they are left to wander freely most of the time.
Reindeer herding is based on traditional Sami knowledge and skills which are adapted to the Arctic environment and a rhythm of life within the seasons. The Sami reindeer herders have always followed the natural rhythm when herding their reindeer, and reindeer calves earmarking period is one of the busiest times in June-July. Besides this unique cultural immersion, the reindeer calf earmarking period is also a perfect time to experience the Midnight sun in the Arctic.
We asked our customer Rosem about her reindeer calf earmarking experience with Visit Natives this summer and here’s what she had to share:
Where did you find inspiration to stay with the Sami reindeer herders and to book an experience with the Visit Natives? I have always been interested in indigenous groups. I specifically wanted to spend time with the Sami. The experience I was looking for was more of a cultural immersion that a lot of companies were not offering. I was very happy to discover Visit Natives because their goals aligned with mine and it worked out great.
How many days did you stay with your Sami family?
I stayed three days with my Sami family
What was the weather like in July in Soroya?
It was beautiful and sunny in Soroya. The day time was warm and the evening and overnight was chilly.
How much luggage did you take? Would you take the same or different equipment next time?
I just brought a backpack of stuff. Layers were essential and I was glad to have them.
What did you like the most about experiencing the Sami reindeer calf marking period? What was the most interesting thing you saw or did?
The overall experience was amazing. Everything was new and interesting. I liked living in the lavuu and spending time with the Sami family. I also enjoyed working with the reindeers. Catching them was quite an experience.
What kind of food did you eat? What was your favorite Sami food or ingredient?
We ate a lot of reindeer. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. It paired really well with the Sami bread.
You slept in a traditional Sami "lavvu" tent in summer. How was it?
The lavuu was also a pleasant surprise. Aside from it being fascinating, it was quite comfortable. I would say some nights were chilly but I love sleeping in colder temperatures.
On a scale 1-10, how was your Sami reindeer calf marking period experience with Visit Natives?
I definitely rate it a 10.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travelers who want to book a stay with the Sami?
I would definitely recommend it. It is an amazing experience. The Sami people are also so kind. The connections you make with them is pretty life changing.
What's next on your bucket list?
It is still up in the air. I am excited to find out.
Thanks a lot, Rosem for sharing your experience! We wish Rosem great adventures in the future and she is always welcomed to come back! If you want to read more reviews please visit Visit Natives’ Facebook page. Visit Natives welcomes travelers to join our Sami families on specific dates in July 2019 in the beautiful island of Sørøya. You can book your reindeer #calfearmarking experience here.