Petrus Matti with sooty coffee close by MenesjarviPetrus Matti with sooty coffee close by Menesjarvi

THE REINDEER MAN

Petrus Matti is a Sami reindeer herder, as was his father and grandfather before him. He tends his herd in the same grounds as they did, his only concession to modernity being he travels out to the forest on an uber cool snowmobile rather than skis. He has somewhere around 3000 deer (its not done to ask how many exactly) who roam wild in Inari and forage for food in an area that's his by ancestral right. He inevetaibly loses animals from illness and predator attacks so tending them is vital. I met up with him outside his triple glazed house in a clearing with hides hanging to dry from the outhouses opposite his front door. Out in a clearing he chants a sort of Joik (traditional Norway chanting) which carries up to 5km and within minutes anything up to 100 animals join him. You and he feed them and then have sooty coffee around an open fire. He really is the real deal.

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