Lapland Celebrated 100 Years of Unity with Song, Dance and Reindeer Cuddles

Lapland Celebrated 100 Years of Unity with Song, Dance and Reindeer Cuddles

Photographer Isabella Moore headed way North to document the day.
February 9, 2017, 8:00am

Photo above: Anna Kuhmunen at her family's coral just outside of Jokkmokk.

This article originally appeared on VICE Sweden

This Monday marked the 100th anniversary of the day Sami activist and feminist Elsa Laula Renberg united Scandinavia's indigenous Sami people, inspiring them to take control of their land. Every year on the 6th of February, the Sami celebrate their national day in villages and cities around Sápmi (or Lapland) – their territory in the north of Scandinavia.


This year, photographer Isabella Moore travelled to the Arctic Circle and the Northern Swedish town of Jokkmokk to celebrate the day with Anna Kuhmunen, who hosted the Sami celebrations at Jokkmokk's Àjtte Museum. Kuhmunen works as a children's TV-show host and owns a herd of reindeer. "It's a big day for Sápmi," Kuhmunen said. "[Other] people still to this day come here to try to take our land and water. If we weren't united, it'd be really hard to stand up for our rights."

In Jokkmokk, Sápmi's national day was celebrated with cake, traditional songs and speeches about Laula Renberg's work. "She must have been such a strong woman to be able to unite a geographically divided people 100 years ago," Kuhmunen said. "Today, because of Elsa's initiative, we all work together. That's why this day is so important to us. Hurray for our day!"

Scroll down for Isabella Moore's photos:

The road to Jokkmokk.

Anna Kuhmunen feeding one of her reindeer.

Anna Kuhmunen with one of her reindeer.

Sami girls at Àjtte, Swedish Mountain and Sami Museum in Jokkmokk, in traditional Sami costumes, known as "kolt".

A young Sami girl looks down at her risku, a piece of jewellery said to symbolise the sun on Sami ceremonial dress that holds the scarf into place.

Sara-Elvira, 16, gathers with her friends inside the Àjtte Museum just before the celebrations begin.

Sami girls at the Àjtte Museum, preparing to sing in the choir for the 100th Sápmi National Day celebration.

Sami girls at Àjtte Museum in traditional dress.

Young Sami boys and girls at the Àjtte Museum preparing to sing for the celebration.

Cake served with Sápmi's national flag.