Written by David Homel
If you think that life in the Great North is a daily, harsh struggle for survival, well, think again! Of course, it does take special gifts to live and prosper in the world's most inhospitable zone, but the North is also a place of poetry and magic, music and myth-making. People have been living in the far North for millennia, and they have developed fascinating and unique ways of thriving in their environment.
Their greatest ally? The caribou, in Canada, and its close cousin in Sweden, the reindeer. With an Inuit guide, GREAT NORTH follows the herds of caribou through the Canadian North as they make their annual trek of more than 7,000 kilometres, which gives them the title of greatest migrating land mammal on Earth. The white deserts of the winter, the brief and colourful summer buzzing with flies -- the herds face all these conditions and more, as their migration opens a window on the Northern landscape for us.
In the Arctic reaches of Sweden, the Saami people learned to tame the reindeer even before other cultures elsewhere on our planet learned to domesticate the horse. The Saami are the cowboys of the North, and we're invited to the autumn round-up to join them as they care for their herds of reindeer.
GREAT NORTH shows us unique ways of living that are perfectly adapted to extreme environments. Patience, a respect for nature's lessons and the bonds of community are what's needed. Inside their snow houses and tents, we watch the Inuit and Saami passing on what they know to their children, making sure that their way of life will remain eternal.