By: Bjørn Marius Narjord On: December 01, 2020 In: Frontpage, News Comments: 0

Ancient traditions, such as joik (characteristic recitation-like song), duedtie (handcrafts) and reindeer husbandry are practised by proud, new young generations and exist side by side with modern living.

South Sami regions and language

On the Norwegian side of the Swedish border, the South Sami region stretches from Saltfjellet in the north to Engerdal in the south. South Sami culture goes back a long way in the Røros Region. This is prime reindeer grazing land, and Røros has always been an important administrative centre for the southernmost Samis.

The Sami language belongs to the Finno-Ugric group, and in Norway consists primarily of three variants: North Sami, Lule Sami and South Sami. The difference between North and South Sami is said to be as great as that between Norwegian and German.

Røros Museum

Røros Museum has focused on South Sami history for 50 years and employs a specialist in the field.
See the online exhibition ‘Voices from the South’ here.


Well-known South Sami musicians and composers include Frode Fjellheim and Marja Mortensson.


Sami handcraft can consist of anything from tools to clothes and accessories, and includes bead embroidery as well as articles crafted in wood, bone, leather and cloth.

Colours, patterns and decorations are chosen according to, among other things, a person’s origin.
Røros Museum has a collection of South Sami artefacts. See the online display here.

The Sami Experience in Røros

The Sami Tent at Rørosrein.
Rørosrein AS is a South Sami reindeer business and producer of meat sourced from its own herds. Within walking distance from Røros town centre, Rørosrein are keen promoters of South Sami culture and heritage. Their koia (Sami tent) serves top quality reindeer meat, prepared with local ingredients.

Summer Opening 9th July – 8th August: table bookings on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Sale of farm produce: Saturdays from 10 am – 2 pm.

Disney Frozen

The Disney films Frozen 1 and Frozen 2 are strongly inspired by Sami culture. In 2012, the Walt Disney Company visited Norway for research purposes and discovered Frode Fjellheim’s joik-inspired song, Eatnemen Vuelie. Slightly altered, this became ‘Vuelie’, used in the film’s opening scene.

The Disney team visited Rørosrein to learn about equipment used for reindeer sledding – and proprietor Magnar Eggen Haugom demonstrated traditional Sami winter attire for them. If you have watched the film, you can see these influences in the reindeer, Sven, and the mountaineer, Kristoff.

Read more here.