“It is one of the last and unquestionably largest and best preserved examples of an area of transhumance, involving summer grazing by large reindeer herds”, said the UNESCO World Heritage Committee when they established Laponia as a heritage area in 1996. Covering a vast area of 9400 square kilometres, including the Padjelanta, Sarek and Stora Sjöfallet national parks, Laponia is the home and workplace of forest and mountain Sámi families from seven different villages, who still tend their reindeer here much as their ancestors did in prehistoric times. The forest Sámi move with their herds within the forests and the mountain Sámi follow their animals from the lichen-rich forests, where they spend the winter, up to the tree line by the time spring comes, then on into the mountains for summer; in August they start making their way down. Come September, many animals will be slaughtered either at the corrals in Ruokto, on the road between Porjus and Kebnats, or at highland corrals between Ritsem and Sitasjaure.

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