Samer i Lofsdalen

The Sámi in Härjedalen

The practice of reindeer herding and the Sámi culture is a very important element in Härjedalen. Here in Lofsdalen you will often see reindeer from the  Sámi community Ruvhten Sijte or Mittådalen. The Sámi are one of the indigenous peoples of the world and for centuries they have lived close to nature.  In Sweden, there are 51 Sámi communities. The Sámi communities are economic associations who work with reindeer herding within the boundaries of the respective communities. The Sámi culture is a wealth of tradition, religion, knowledge and culture.


Working with reindeer herding means living in harmony with nature. The Sámi culture has eight seasons that all revolve around the reindeer's life from winter grazing in the forest land to calving at the foot of the mountain. The mountain peaks protect the reindeer from heat and mosquitoes in the summer and when autumn arrives it is time for slaughter. Reindeer herding requires access to large plots of land as the reindeer have different seasonal 
foraging grounds, from winter to spring, summer to autumn.

The reindeer migrate every year, just as they always have, from winter grazing to summer grazing. In the past, Sámi were nomads who accompanied the reindeer over the vast mountains. Today, the Sámi are resident and reindeer herding takes place in modern forms. But still it is nature that controls the reindeer as they roam freely over large areas. The Sámi have a challenging work with the reindeer as they lead their lifestyle between landowners, tourists, roads, snowmobile trails and predators.

No one can say when the Sámi came to Härjedalen, in the Sámi culture there are few things that are written down but instead knowledge and history were kept alive around stories in the mountains and around the campfire. Therefore, Härjedalen is special for the Sámi as Härjedalen is the only place in northern Sweden where the Sámi can not claim immemorial rights and therefore do not have natural grazing rights in the mountains. Instead, a good relationship and agreement with landowners is required to let the reindeer graze around Lofsdalen. Winter grazing is very important for the reindeer and the southern side of lake Lofssjön is reindeer grazing in winter. Therefore, the reindeer's land must be untouched, which means that free riding with a snowmobile causes great damage to the reindeer industry. Even if you do not see reindeer when you drive outside the snowmobile trails, the reindeer follow the snowmobile tracks and disperse over the mountain. In Lofsdalen we therefore have two free-riding areas where off-road snowmobiling is allowed. If you want to learn more about the Sámi culture, visit some of the Sámi entrepreneurs in Härjedalen.