About the Project

Domestic reindeer and wild migratory reindeer/caribou are a key species in the circumpolar Arctic in more ways than one.  Historically, people came to know and to rely on this species as they made homes for themselves in the North.  Politically, relationships to the lands that hold reindeer are a key defining feature of many indigenous societies today.   With support from the NordForsk Foundation, this two year network-building project will query the difference between so-called ‘domestic’ and ‘wild’ forms of this species asking if the difference is really so great.  The network will build upon recent developments at Scandinavian institutions investigating the genetic differences between these population, botanical and environmental markers of human-Rangifer relations, and the ethnography of how indigenous people understand this species.   The network is made up of 17 participants in Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Canada, and the Russian Federation.  The project organized five network meetings where these new methods will be compared and applied to new settings.  The project also organized three ‘field seminars’ and several laboratory visits where new sites and samples were compared and evaluatued.