Reindeer Herding in South Greenland

In the just 50 years since the introduction of reindeer herding to Greenland, the tradition is now thriving today with over XX NUMBER reindeer which are tended by a small handful of dedicated Greenlandic herders. 

Just like their agricultural brethren that are more widespread in the region, namely the Inuit sheep farmers, the two reindeer herding families in South Greenland collectively lead a hard-working life all year round, together with their closest network.
They ensure the herds are grazing in the right areas at the right times of year.
They gather all the animals once a year in late autumn to count them and check their ages and health.
They build and repair fences and pens that aid them in their annual gather. 
This lifestyle is very unique in Greenland, and it is one that connects Greenlandic Inuit to other Inuit and indigenous people in the Arctic. Therefore, we must respect their work, their herd and their agricultural lands as much as possible. 
Photos by: Sarah E. Woodall
Photos by: Sarah E. Woodall

Who are the herders?

Today the two families of herders are the Magnussons and the Janussens.

While the now-adult children of the two patriarchs have been involved in every step of the reindeer herding lifestyle since before they could walk, in both families there is just about to be a generation shift so that the children will now take over the family business. 

Where are the reindeer?

What is the history?

Since the early 1970's, just three different families of herders have carried on this tradition that unites Inuit and indigenous people around the Arctic.