Navigating This Site
Index of articles by subject
Index of back issues by volume number
Search The Fan Hitch
Articles to download and print
Defining the Inuit Dog
Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis
Our comprehensive list of resources
About The Fan Hitch
Talk to The Fan Hitch
The Fan Hitch home page
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at: http://thefanhitch.org.
The Fan Hitch welcomes your letters, stories, comments and suggestions. The editorial staff reserves the right to edit submissions used for publication.
Contents of The Fan Hitch are protected by international copyright laws. No photo, drawing or text may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Webmasters please note: written consent is necessary before linking this site to yours! Please forward requests to Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Rd., Harwinton, Connecticut 06791, USA or firstname.lastname@example.org
This site is dedicated to the Inuit Dog as well as related Inuit culture and traditions. It is also home to The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog.
The Inuit Dog: Its Provenance, Environment and History, by Ian Kenneth MacRury.
All profits from its sale (thanks to the generosity of it author) are used to pay for the web host, print more copies of this publication as needed, make both cash donations and that of the publication to institutions who further the interest of the Inuit Dog in the Arctic.
The History of the Canadian Eskimo Dog Recovery Project (DVD, 67 minutes), John “Umelik” McGrath’s 1998 Presentation.
All profits from the sale of this video support the Ilisaqsivik Society in Clyde River, Nunavut (see below).
* * *Are you seeking to learn more about the Inuit Dog and related Inuit culture? Do you want to travel to the Arctic or experience travel by dog team? Or are you looking for a way you can "help out"? We can make a few recommendations to you based on our own experiences with the following organizations and groups.
Listed below are select non-profit organizations that provide good and needed services in the north, adventure tourism outfitters who use aboriginal dogs and sources of film and print media to add to your collection.
Please note: The Fan Hitch website and journal does not accept paid advertising. There is no quid pro quo arrangement, financial or otherwise, with the organizations and resources listed below.
Canadian Animal Assistance Team
The Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT) is a registered group of veterinary technologists, veterinary assistants, veterinarians, dedicated to providing veterinary medicine to communities in need, including those in the Canadian North. Through CAAT’s Animal Health Care Clinics, they provide a variety of veterinary services including but not limited to sterilization, vaccination and parasite control, all essential in the health and well-being of the animals. The health of animals, the health of people and the health of a community are undeniably intertwined. Providing care for the animals, can also have a direct effect on the health of the people and the health of the community as a whole.
The Chinook Project
The Chinook Project, based at the Atlantic Veterinary College, Prince Edward Island, provides free veterinary care to one isolated community in Canada's north each summer.
Ilisaqsivik is a non-profit community initiated and community-based Inuit organization in Clyde River, Nunavut, dedicated to promoting community wellness. Ilisaqsivik provides space, resources, and programming that enable families and individuals to find healing and develop their strengths.
Beautiful songs by an incredibly beautiful person
The astonishingly beautiful songs of a reticent musician from a small Arctic community have come to light after years of incubation. A wry observer of human nature, Siu-ling quietly wrote songs as a means of exploring and relating to the world around her. A biologist with Environment Canada by day, very few people — including family and friends — were aware of Siu-ling’s talent. When re-diagnosed with cancer, Siu-ling reluctantly heeded the call of a close musician friend, who insisted that these songs be shared outside of her living room, and recorded rough tracks in Iqaluit. When Siu-ling’s health suddenly took a turn for the worse, the community came together, and used these rough cuts to produce an album.
The result, To Those Who Would Show Kindness, is a deeply raw and personal album that explores love, pain, disappointment, friendship and most of all, the simple joy of living in the present. Set in the stark yet beautiful landscape of the Canadian Arctic, Siu-ling’s songs echo the darkness and light of the human condition and what it means to be alive.
Per Siu-Ling’s wishes, all proceeds from this album are donated to projects in support of mental health initiatives for Nunavut youth.
Deeply felt thanks go to the musicians and engineers who donated their time and talent to this dream: Robert Aubé, Gina Burgess, Chris Coleman, Timothy Han, Pierre Lecomte, Jeff Maurice, Nancy Mike, Steve Rigby, Jamal Shirley, Nyles Wiszcyk, and Emily Woods.
To hear cuts, purchase a CD or download the album, go here.
Use <email@example.com> to make a donation (through PayPal) to honor the memory of Siu-Ling Han.
The Far Fur Country DVD Combo Pack
In 1919, a film crew set out on an epic journey across Canada’s North. Over the course of six months, their expedition traveled by icebreaker, canoe, and dog sled, capturing the Canadian fur trade in a silent feature documentary. The Romance of the Far Fur Country was released in 1920, two years before the legendary film Nanook of the North. Rediscovering the documentary in a British archive, another film crew begins a journey to bring this lost film back to life, taking it to the northern communities where the film was originally shot. As people watch the footage from 1919, something special happens. Images come to life; people recognize their family members, their landscapes, and their lost traditions. Contrasting then and now, On the Trail of the Far Fur Country is an intimate portrait of Canada and its Aboriginal people, and a chronicle of how life in the North has changed in the last century. Read Five Door Film's Kevin Nikkel's story about the project here.
Okpik’s Dream, written and directed by Laura Rietveld and produced by Katarina Soukup, is a quiet, unpretentious documentary with many powerful messages. Yes, it is a classic story of resilience and triumph over adversity, both on cultural and personal levels. But there is much more to appreciate. There are many archival still photos and videos, gorgeous vistas. The viewer gets to observe close up what it is like living in small Nunavik hamlets. There are many, many scenes of dogs, caring for dogs, working with dogs, with a portion of the film devoted to the 2013 Ivakkak. This must-have DVD is seventy-three minutes long. Included is an incredible selection of thirteen informative extras.
Purchase Okpik’s Dream here.
The Meaning of Ice: People and sea ice in three Arctic communities
edited by: Shari Fox Gearheard, Lene Kielsen Holm, Henry Huntington, Joe Mello Leavitt,Andrew R. Mahoney, Margaret Opie, Toku Oshima and Joelie Sanguya
The scope of this publication is truly overwhelming. Cover-to-cover, it provides readers with a far-reaching understanding of circumpolar life, past and present – from the perspective of the People who have occupied the North for millennia – that likely will not be collectively found elsewhere. Those of you who have an interest in polar culture and tradition (and dog team travel) will most definitely want to have your own copy!
The Meaning of Ice: People and sea ice in three Arctic communities ISBN 978-0-9821703-9-7 (2013); hard cover and beautifully jacketed, 11.5” x 10.75” x 1.75”; 416 pages, 645 color illustrations, 22 maps, 7 figures, 9 tables all in five-and-a-half pounds. It is published by the International Polar Institute Press and distributed through the University Press of New England with all proceeds from the sale of The Meaning of Ice: People and sea ice in three Arctic communities being directed to programs in the three communities described; also available through online booksellers.
Houston North Gallery
The Houston North Gallery is almost exclusively devoted to showing, selling and educating the public on Inuit art and culture.
The Houston Family has more than 60 years of artistic collaboration with the Inuit of Canada, beginning in the 1950s when John’s father, James Houston brought world recognition to the art of the Inuit people. For nine years, the Houston Family lived in Cape Dorset on Baffin Island and helped establish a strong market for their art.
Through the Houston North Gallery, this legacy has continued while providing an educational outlet to help others learn more about Canada’s North and the people who have populated it for thousands of years.
The gallery currently carries John Houston’s Award-Winning Arctic Trilogy Songs in Stone: An Arctic Journey Home, Nuliajuk: Mother of the Sea Beasts, and Diet of Souls. The gallery also offers Kiviuq and The Most Interesting Group of People You’ll Ever Meet, John’s celebration of the life of his late father. John's most recent film, The White Archer, is inspired by the children’s book written by his father. All six films have won awards both in Canada and internationally.
An Inuit-owned publishing company, with head office located in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Inhabit Media is the only independent publishing company located in the Canadian Arctic. Its aim is to preserve and promote the stories, knowledge and talent of Inuit and northern Canada.
Since 2006, Inhabit Media has been working to encourage Inuit and non-Inuit Arctic residence to share their stories and their knowledge, and to record the oral history of the Canadian North. Inhabit Media’s aim is to ensure that Arctic voices are heard and that they have the opportunity to contribute to Canadian literature. Inhabit Media has been working with Elders and storytellers to ensure that the rich story-telling culture of the Inuit is preserved and passed on. As well, it has been working with Elders, hunters and knowledgeable residence to ensure that the rich traditional knowledge about the environment is not lost.
Inhabit Media’s authors, storytellers and artists bring stories and knowledge to life in a way that is accessible to readers in both North and the South.
The National Film Board of Canada
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB), a government agency, was established in 1938. "The overarching objective of the National Film Board is to produce and distribute audio-visual works which provoke discussion and debate on subjects of interest to Canadian audiences and foreign markets;" The NFB is a repository for a large collection of outstanding historical productions documenting Inuit hunter/gatherer existence. Many of these films are for sale and some are even available for free online viewing.
Please visit The Fan Hitch Index of Articles by subject…Media Review…for over sixty recommendations. Book and video reviews are far too numerous to list here individually.
Mahoosuc Guide Service
Mahoosuc Guide Service in Newry, Maine, USA is a small family run business with over twenty years of experience. Owners Kevin Slater and Polly Mahoney have for over a decade traveled extensively in the Canadian north, enjoying the company of many Inuit friends, and they are eager to share this cultural experience with their clients. When the very last Inuit Sled Dogs were ordered to leave Antarctica back in 1994, Kevin and Polly were honored to be selected as the facilitators for the dogs' relocation/"repatriation" to Inukjuaq, Nunavik, Arctic Quebec.
NorthWinds is owned and operated by Matty McNair who, with her kids Sarah and Eric, has made her home in Iqaluit, Nunavut on south Baffin Island, since 1990. Matty contributed to polar history in 1997 when she led the first commercial polar expedition, guiding the first women’s expedition to the Geographic North Pole. She has since guided three expeditions to the South Pole and a dog sledding expedition to the North Pole. NorthWinds offers polar training, kiting and dogsled expeditions and multimedia presentations.
Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge
With about sixty dogs, Wintergreen's owner, renown polar adventurer Paul Schurke’s kennel in Ely, Minnesota, USA represents the largest single population of pure Inuit Sled Dogs in North America and perhaps the world. If you're looking for hands-on experience with the breed, Wintergreen, with its mushing journeys of varying length around the boundary waters region of Minnesota is the place! Wintergreen also offers clients cultural dogsledding adventures with Inuit in Northwest Greenland.