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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.
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People of a Feather
reviewed by Sandy Hagan
Because I have had the good fortune to be introduced to Inuit Sled Dogs and use Inuit Dogs as my sled dog team, I have become interested in the People and the land from which they came. My daughter and I went to Churchill, Manitoba on Hudson Bay in the early seventies and learned much. After watching People of a Feather I have decided to include on my bucket list a trip to the community of Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, Canada situated among the Belcher Islands in Hudson Bay.
From Sanikiluaq Sea Ice Project of the Exchange for
Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic
I learned much from the video. I learned some about Inuit, who are amazing. I learned about two varieties of ducks that stay in the arctic the year around. I watched Inuit take only from nature what they needed and leave the rest. They are very careful to take only true eggs from the ducks and none that have a small duckling inside. They take only some of the eider down the ducks use for their nests. I watched Inuit making a qamutiq (sledge) using modern electric tools and I watched them spread water on sealskin runners of a qamutiq to ice them to make them easier for the dogs to pull. That, they learned from their ancestors.
I say “I watched” because the dialog (in English or Inuktitut subtitled in English or other languages) seems to be purposely limited leaving the viewer’s visual senses to interpret much of the video’s message. That, in my view makes the video extremely interesting and makes the message of the video that much more poignant. Time-lapse photography is used to help the viewer grasp what is occurring in the area. Hydroelectric dams that power a highly populated eastern North America are causing inappropriate changes of all arctic life, particularly of Inuit and the eider ducks.
People of a Feather is video more than well worth watching and a message well worth absorbing.
This multi-award winning documentary is 92 minutes long. There is a generous selection of extras, including a profile the community of Sanikiluaq, eider studies, a music video, how to build an igloo, make eider skin parkas and make a seal skin qajaq (kayak). Visit peopleofafeather.com to learn more about this film and to see a trailer. When you click on the “NOW AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE ON DVD & BLURAY” to purchase your own copy as a DVD ($19.99 CAN), as a blue ray ($27.99 CAN) or as a download (found at the end of the trailer) through Vimeo on Demand ($11.99 USD), you will be taken to the Arctic Eider Society’s very informative website where you can learn about their “work with Inuit and Cree communities in Hudson Bay to address environmental change affecting sea ice ecosystems through research, education and outreach.” Proceeds from the sale of People of a Feather support these efforts.
Sandy Hagan has been driving big dogs since the early nineties. It all began when he asked his daughter Andrea what breed of dog she’d like to have. She took her father to the library. They researched and Andrea chose the Alaskan Malamute Dog. In the mid nineties Sandy began to be passionate about Inuit Dogs. In the Fall of 1996 Andrea called her father to alert him to the availability of an Inuit Dog pup. That was the beginning of the appreciation of an amazing animal. Sandy, his wife Jan and their team live near Stacy, Minnesota.