Kautokeino – the pathfinder of Sápmi
Kautokeino municipality is Norway's largest in area, 9704 km2, about the same as the counties Oslo, Akershus and Østfold combined. The population of the municipality is around 2850, which gives a population density of 0.3 inhabitants per km2.
Around 95% of the municipality's inhabitants are Sami speakers, and Sami and Norwegian are equal as administrative languages. Kautokeino has a varied cultural and organizational life with nearly 80 different clubs and associations. The municipality includes a university college, upper secondary school, cultural centre, youth centre, theatre, sports hall, swimming pool, museum, and artist workshop.
The indigenous Sami people of Kautokeino do not visit nature – we are part of it. Nature colours life, culture, and our distinct Sami identity. It shows us how to use it and take care of it. We have always harvested from nature for food. Have seen the reindeer born and have followed it from plateau to coast. Have quietly followed the grouse's tracks and watched the cloudberries colour the marsh. On the plateau, the Arctic light comes into its own in the clean air. The cold makes the sounds sound better and you can hear nature breathing. Life in step with nature has given us many stories through the generations. Stories we'd love to share. In deep respect for nature and our Sami heritage.
We want to show our guests how to play on a team with the Arctic nature. How you can see and hear the cold. How the different seasons smell and how the light breaks out in the dark period. On the plateau in Kautokeino you can meet the pure Arctic light, the modern indigenous people, the lives of reindeer herders, our rich culture and stories from nature. You can meet the Sami joik, our language, our art, our Sami handicraft duodji and a strong Sami identity. There are honest meetings and experiences that can change you.
While we carry with us the Sami history, the struggle to preserve our language and culture, we live in modern society. The meeting between the traditional and the modern is a balancing point in our lives. The joik meets popular music. The reindeer meets the ship. Science meets nature's narratives. New knowledge comes, but the old one is preserved. Some times of the year we disconnect from modern life and live in harmony with nature. At other times, our everyday life may be very similar to your own. But here we don't let ourselves be stressed by time. Or for lack of time. On the plateau in Kautokeino we breathe calmly and let nature tell.