Arvidsjaur Municipality was for a long time only inhabited by the Sami people. They were back then a hunting people, living off the abundance of fish and wildlife in the area. Archaeological discoveries suggest that people have been moving through the area for several thousands of years. The name Arvidsjaur itself comes from a Sami word which means "generous water" and was originally the name of the adjacent lake.
In the 14th and 15th century some farmers settled in the area. They acquired furs and skins from the hunters, and traded them off to southern regions, allegedly in vast numbers.
The Christianization of Arvidsjaur Municipality was slow, as it was in Norrland as a whole, because of the low population, the harsh climate and the long distances. It was also commonly believed that Norrland was inhabited by magicians.
Not until 1577 did the first settler, Per Käck, settle in Arvidsjaur. The settlers built the first chapel at the marketplace at the time, in 1560. The first church was inaugurated in 1604.
Arvidsjaur Municipality is located about 110 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, in the center of the northernmost land, Norrland. It is also part of the geographic area Lapland, which consists of the northern parts of Sweden, Norway and Finland. Sami people are an indigenous minority group who mainly live on breeding reindeers. Arvidsjaur Municipality still contains several Sami villages, and as a tribute to the Sami people a reindeer is the basis for the municipal coat of arms.