Norway: protecting ancestral roots
Reindeer husbandry remains the main livelihood for most Sámi people, also called “Laps,” living in central Norway and Sweden. From the end of April to the beginning of May 1986, fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant contaminated vast mountain areas used for pasture. The integration of cesium was found to be especially high in reindeers, thus threatening an entire culture founded on herding these animals.
Thanks to close cooperation with the authorities and radiation protection and radioecology scientists, most herders gradually adopted practices such as measuring the radioactivity of their reindeers, feeding them with lichens brought from less contaminated regions, and using cooking techniques that reduce cesium content, among others. This is how they were able to safeguard their way of life.
Lavrans Skuterud, Senior Researcher, Norwegian radiation and nuclear safety authority (DSA, formerly NRPA).
We met reindeer, goat, and sheep herders, we monitored reindeer slaughter... In Norway, we gained considerable experience with the practical consequences of radioactive fallout for the local population - local herders, farmers, producers - and management of these situations in terms of regulations, compensation, etc. I think all of this may be highly relevant for Japanese farmers and producers. Whether it's reindeer, sheep, or sansai, it has a lot to do with culture, food, way of life, all the things that make up the foundation of our everyday life.
VIDEO: THE SÁMI PEOPLE AFTER THE CHERNOBYL ACCIDENT