The Wind from the West

Sweden, 1946

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In northern Sweden, the exotic, nomadic Lapps, depend on reindeer herds for their livelihood. Each Spring, the Lapps seek the high uplands for reindeer feed but the very young and aged remain in the valleys. A young Nils watches the procession departing. He dozes and the Wind from the West speaks to him. He dreams that he is in the mountains with his sister, catching Brook trout, cutting willow-roots for basket-making, eating fire baked damper cakes and playing with his dog. The Wind from the West leads him to the highest mountain crag, where the Golden Eagle nests. In Lapp tradition, it is an ancient bravery test to climb to the eagle’s nest and take the bone of the white reindeer calf. For he who makes the climb, the echo, at the peak where the Lapps once made religious sacrifices, tells the size of his reindeer herd. Photography by Arne Sucksdorff. English commentary by Forrest Izard.

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