Reindeer Husbandry in the North
5900 Sámi work with reindeer husbandry. With a few exceptions, according to Norwegian law, only Sámi people can be in the business. And you need to inherit the profession from either your parents or grandparents. This is also by and large the case in Sweden.
In Finland, however, anybody in the European Union can become a reindeer herder and owner. There are 4900 reindeer owners in Finland.
Traditionally, the Sámi has organized the reindeer husbandry in siidas. The siida is a working group, often related, in a community that makes the decisions related to grazing grounds. One herder can be part of one siida during the summer and another siida during the winter. The government of Norway has sought to respect this way of doing things in a new act established in 2007.
The total number of domesticated (a liberal use of the word) reindeer is 690 000 in Finland, Sweden and Norway. Traditionally the reindeer would migrate cross borders between Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
Today, all borders are closed for the reindeer except between Sweden and Norway. In Finland, the reindeer husbandry tends to be more stationary.