The Outdoor Etiquette for the Homeland of the Sámi Shows How to Respect Nature and Culture

Metsähallitus has published an outdoor etiquette for the Homeland in cooperation with various actors in the Sámi Homeland. The graphically impressive etiquette features five points to help people take nature, livelihoods and culture into account. The etiquette called “These Lands are our Children” is based on the natural resource plan for the Sámi Homeland.

A drawn picture. Reindeer under the pine.

Tourism has rebounded after the coronavirus pandemic and brought along phenomena that bother local residents in the Sámi Homeland. People enter reindeer enclosures, frighten reindeer by photographing them with a drone, let dogs run around without a leash and even peek through windows of residential buildings.

To curb undesirable behaviour, National Parks Finland has published on its website a five-point outdoor etiquette for the Homeland of the Sámi. The etiquette is based on the most recent natural resource plan for the Sámi Homeland that guides Metsähallitus’s activities. It highlighted such an etiquette as one important measure.

The etiquette was created in cooperation with the Sámi Parliament, the Skolt village meeting, the regional organisation for tourism Lapland North Destinations and the Suomen Latu outdoor association. The graphical layout of the etiquette was designed by Graphical Designer Anna Pakkanen, who has also created the popular Outdoor Etiquette series.

“The outdoor etiquette for the Homeland of the Sámi is aimed at all nature goers – not only hikers or foreign tourists, but also those living in the Homeland”, says Aini Magga, Land Use Specialist at National Parks Finland, who participated in creating the etiquette.

The “These Lands are our Children” etiquette instructs how to take nature and traditional Sámi lifestyle into account in different ways. The etiquette has the following points:

  1. Respect the Sámi cultural environment;
  2. Cherish the sensitive Arctic nature;
  3. Keep your pets on a leash;
  4. Take reindeer and reindeer husbandry into consideration;
  5. Favour authentic, local services.

Wagging your finger rarely helps to make a change

Aini Magga from Metsähallitus hopes that the outdoor etiquette would raise awareness of the special rules applicable to the Sámi Homeland. 

The etiquette has been translated into several languages, such as English, Swedish, Northern Sámi, Inari Sámi and Skolt Sámi.

“The etiquette is beautifully illustrated, and the contents have been carefully crafted in a way that it doesn't come off as trying to make a change by finger-wagging. We want visitors and hikers to feel welcome in the Sámi Homeland and to respect nature, traditional livelihoods and culture”, Magga states.

The name of the outdoor etiquette for the Homeland of the Sámi, “These Lands are our Children”, stems from a poem by Inari Sámi writer Matti Morottaja

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