Our home, Swedish Lapland, has been formed by the Ice Age, the seasons and the reindeer. And we, too, have lived our lives in the shadow of the forces of nature.
At Nutti Sámi Siida in Jukkasjärvi, a reindeer named Bulmmot eats from my hand. I have a handful of fodder pellets and Bulmmot seems to like them about as much as I like a bag of candy. Bulmmot is North Sámi for ‘grey sparrow’. His coat, in different nuances of grey, is the same colour as the little bird. A castrated bull, he is also named for the grey sparrow because he is small, lazy and a bit fat. His attitude is also similar to that of a grey sparrow.
There are about 20 reindeer in Nils Torbjörn Nutti’s paddock in Jukkasjärvi. All have names and each is named according to their disposition, their appearance or their significance for Nils Torbjörn. Here, we meet Linis and Girjak, and Dábaláš, meaning common, which seems a little unfair. Dábaláš is beautiful. We also meet Áddjá Muzet, ‘great-grandfather’s dark-brown’, the last reindeer to bear his grandfather’s earmark before Nils Torbjörn took over the herd. The Sámi language is very descriptive.