From the Editor... Words Worth Repeating
The Endurance Dogs
The Concept of an Aboriginal Dog Breed
Inuit Tradition in 75 Tons of Sand!
The Canadian Animal Assistance Team’s 2013 Northern Canada Animal Health Care Project
Far Fur Country Project Update
Movie Review: Arctic Dog Team, Arctic Jungle, Arctic Hunter
IMHO... Well, That's The Way We Do It!
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Words Worth Repeating
You’ve read it here before: one cannot truly know Inuit Dogs without an appreciation of the historic relationship with their human partners. And now it’s worth repeating that one cannot know what a real Inuit Dog is without understanding the very special place aboriginal dogs occupy in the world.
Back in 2009 (March to December), The Fan Hitch published in four installments, “Evolutionary Changes in Domesticated Dogs: The Broken Covenant of the Wild”, written by retired zoologist and curator of the Primitive and Aboriginal Dog Society International, Vladimir Beregovoy. I consider it a landmark for this journal and since its appearance Beregovoy’s magnum opus has been one of the most frequently accessed articles ever published in The Fan Hitch. That is great news. But there’s no identifying just who is reading it or what their take away message has been. One thing is clear, however. Beregovoy’s words are either not understood or are straightaway dismissed by some. There are owners/breeders who now identify their dogs as “Canadian Eskimo/Inuit Dogs”. This bifurcated name seems to be a fairly recent phenomenon. My interpretation of this manufactured designation is that it represents ambivalence and contradiction – ”Inuit” to acknowledge an aboriginal source with a significant ethnographic history but deficient of kennel club registration, thus barely recognized by them as “legitimately pure” (not to mention ignoring or denying results of scientific findings that the Canadian Inuit Dog and the Greenland Dog are the same aboriginal dog because the breed specific kennel clubs and all breed registries say it isn’t so), and “Eskimo” to designate a kennel club registered show dog/pet/weekend sled dog on snow or gravel (with my apologies to W. “B.” C. and J. “U.” M.). Beregovoy did an excellent job of explaining why aboriginal dogs such as the Inuit Dog cannot, CANNOT be all things to all people at all latitudes and still remain authentic. I don’t expect these show/pet enthusiasts who venture to read The Fan Hitch and Beregovoy’s dogma (no pun intended) will become enlightened to the point of admitting that their version of “saving the Canadian Eskimo/Inuit Dog” has nothing to do with the preservation of the authentic Inuit Dog. “…Nowadays not so much people need a dog to pull a sled, so probably taking them to shows or exhibitions, or, in general, spread the word about them, might save them in the future,...”. This nonsense represents no more than their hobby, not a bonafide effort at preventing the extinction of an aboriginal landrace. But I do believe Beregovoy’s principles are well worth repeating. So in this issue of The Fan Hitch, Dr. Beregovoy has generously granted permission to present “The Concept of an Aboriginal Dog Breed”. It is long; it is far reaching; it is very much worth taking to heart.
In addition to this “heavy” reading, in June we have for you project updates, reviews of films documenting Inuit life in the late 1940s, two historical articles about very strong-willed polar travellers – one a knighted British explorer and the other a renowned powerful angakkuk (shaman), the astonishing results of a childhood inspiration, and of course Mark’s IMHO.
Wishing you smooth ice and narrow leads and some enjoyable summer or winter (depending on your hemisphere) reading!