This study reveals how a traditional community of reindeer herders operates and survives under the administrative direction of a modern state. In conditions of reindeer herding traditional and modern features of production exist side by side. The Skolt Sami reindeer herding community of Sevettijärvi in Northern Finland was a suitable subject for the research. A long tradition of cooperation exists among reindeer herders. Team work is put into perspective here by analyzing work patterns of reindeer herders on the basis of anthropological theory and intensive observations of work situations. As a result a model of the forms of cooperation and reciprocity emerges and clarifies the cultural core of the community. As the forms of cooperation change, the Skolt Sami culture changes. One objective of this study is to intrude concrete material into the discussion about state administration. The state regulates numbers of reindeer and predators, and it assists reindeer herders by paying subsidies. The practices of state administration in issues of reindeer herding are analyzed here, and the state’s economic approach is examined.