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Book Review: How to Raise a Dog Team
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The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at: http://thefanhitch.org.
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The Inuit Sled Dog International
The Inuit Sled Dog International (ISDI) is a consortium of enthusiasts whose goal is the preservation of this ancient arctic breed in its purest form as a working dog. The ISDI's efforts are concentrated on restoring the pure Inuit Dog to its native habitat. The ISDI's coordinators welcome to your comments and questions.
Illustration by Nunga Echalook
Qimutsiutiliurniq: How to Raise a Dog Team
by Adamie Inukpuk
reviewed by Sue Hamilton
More and more accounts of Inuit life with dogs, either first hand or handed down from one generation to the next, are becoming accessible to the world outside of the North. These may be discovered in the web pages of cultural associations, traditional knowledge sites and other Inuit organizations as a result of truth commission hearings where oral histories have been collected. Multi-media sites such as the Isuma.TV, National Film Board of Canada and Piksuk Media also offer still and video images of the lives of nomadic hunter-trappers using dogs, some as far back as the late nineteenth century. There’s a lot of research to be done to ferret out these historical gems.
But there's one place where many facets of dog driving come together in a manual written by Adamie Inukpuk, a 67 year-old Elder from Inukjuak, Nunavik. In Qimutsiutiliurniq: How to Raise a Dog Team the author describes his experiences and views of working dog ownership.
In brief chapters Inukpuk offers his personal beliefs on breeding, feeding, stages of development, dogs intuitive working behavior, team composition, conditioning and training team and lead dogs. He also describes how he differentiates a "true husky dog" from those mixed with non-aboriginal dogs. Inukpuk discusses how a harness should fit and goes on to explain how to make other equipment necessary for dog teaming, including tow lines, traces, building a qamutiq, with modern or traditional ice runners, construction of whips and qamutiq utility boxes. In addition to his own experiences, Inukpuk, a participant of nearly every Ivakkak, Nunavik's traditional dog team race, cites examples of traditional knowledge passed down to him.
Illustration by Nunga Echalook
Qimutsiutiliurniq: How to Raise a Dog Team (2009, ISBN 2-921644-77-0, produced and distributed by the Avataq Cultural Institute), contains color and black and white photos and many illustrations of both dogs and equipment. It is an 8.5 in x 5.5 in (21.5 cm x 14 cm) soft cover of 74 pages. The first half is in Inuktitut syllabics and the second half is the English version. The cost is $20.00 CAD plus shipping and can be purchased by contacting:
Responsible du marketing/Publications
Nunavik Institut culturel Avataq
4150 rue Sainte Catherine Ouest, bureau 360
Westmount, Quebec H3Z 2Y5
514 989-9031 #250