The Fan Hitch Volume 2, Number 3, May 2000

Table of Contents

From the Editor
Nunavut Quest 2000:
More Than a Race
Nunavut Quest 2000:
Drivers' Meeting
Nunavut Quest 2000:
On the Trail
Nunavut Quest 2000:
Race Results
Poem: Dogs of the Sledge Trail
Inuit Demand Inquiry of Historical Dog Extermination Policy
Nunavut's Official Symbols
Niels Pedersen, D.V.M:
The Veterinary Service in Greenland
ISDI Foundation:
Sled Dog Problems in Iqaluit
Baking: Dog Cookie Recipe
Crafts: Save That Hair
Behavioral Notebook:
Social Order
Book Review:
Polar Dream
In My Humble Opinion: 
Sharing the Trail
Ihe ISDVMA Meeting

Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch

Articles to download and print

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

Talk to The Fan Hitch

The Fan Hitch home page

ISDI home page

Editor's/Publisher's Statement
Editor-in-Chief: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
Print Edition: Imaged and distributed by the IPL students of the Ulluriaq School, Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at:

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The Fan Hitch
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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.

ISDI Coordinator Canada:
Geneviève Montcombroux, Box 206, Inwood, MB R0C 1P0;
ISDI Coordinator USA:
Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791,

Silu's father, Arcene Panniuq, with two dogs in Coral Harbour. 1970 photo

by Silu Connelly

My family and I have been living in Rankin Inlet for seven years now although I would love to move back home to Coral Harbour on Southampton Island, which is located on the northern part of Hudson Bay.

I grew up with dogs. My dad, Arcene Panniuq, would hunt, fish or trap all over the island with his dog team. He eventually gave them up after purchasing snowmobiles around the early 70s. I was so disappointed when Dad had to give away his dogs. The oldest dog I remember that my dad had, died of old age at 16. He was a year older than me. He wasn't harnessed for a few years before that, probably because of his age. He was a beautiful all white dog. Back then we didn't speak any English but we had watched some Lassie movies and when my older sister got her dog she named him Rassie (she couldn't pronounce the"L"). He was the only dog allowed in the house. Every dog on my dad's team had an "owner". We all had our own dogs that were on his team. All my dogs were dark, and my sister's were light. There was a dark gray female that I remember had pups one time. I was always inside her box with her and the pups. She was so gentle. I'm getting sentimental here but I'm enjoying sharing all this with you. 

My 60-year-old brother, Akirulik, had mentioned that mixed-bred dog-teams are more prone to biting and hurting their master compared to true Canadian Inuit Dog teams. But then that could also be associated with bad dog handling. Most women didn't have their own teams back then but they were involved because they were the ones bringing up the puppies before the pups were old enough to start pulling the sleds. They all had different techniques on training, when was the best time to feed them when traveling long distance, or how to treat the dogs, but it all ended with the same results.

I use what I feel works best for the dogs and me. I have an older brother that is interested in helping me with dogs. He's also traveled on Southampton Island with his own Canadian Inuit dogs. He had to relocate to Hall Beach in the early 60s so he had to give up his team. I've received much help and advice from men that previously had had dog teams. Having pure Canadian Inuit Dogs for me is to keep alive a small part of my heritage and share it with my children. Animals are part of most of our lives and dogs do keep my family working together and bring us close.

I hike with a dog or two in the warmer months, usually to our cabin about 10 miles out of town. I also take my kids out for rides with the dogs. I've been told at different times by two of my older brothers that the dogs shouldn't pull heavy sleds until they're more mature or they won't grow properly. I guess they must know these things. I have never seen either one of my brothers or my dad hurt a dog. They'd use voice commands to make them move forward if they came across a pile of ice that they had to cross or while training using voice commands and the whip on either the left or right side of the team. They did not use anchors or anything to hold the sled down in case the dogs ran off on them because they wouldn't. They would be told to stay and they'd just wait. Some people use anchors but have a problem when the dogs feel the sled stopping because of deep snow or ice, they think it's the anchor and just stop pulling. 

I was talking to an elder who still has a dog team. He's had a team for as long as I can remember. He's the one who told me that my dad and two other elders were his "idols" when it came to dog teams. Apparently they had the best behaved, best looking and very good hunting dogs. Robert Tatty, aged 72, who is renowned for dog racing retired last April. He was sad to admit that he could not race anymore because of his age. He's just amazing though. His dogs absolutely listened to everything he said. He happened to be going by our house with his dogteam several years ago here in Rankin Inlet, and my pet Rottweiler got loose at the time. He chased them down the road and disappeared around the corner. I had no choice but run outside and take the ATV to follow. When I turned the corner, there the team was lying down and my dog was hopping around trying to play with them. I would have laughed but out of respect I didn't. Those poor racing dogs were just lying down because their owner was telling them to. I would have felt worse if a fight had broken out.

I really wish that there were policies in place that would not allow any other breed in Nunavut unless they are spayed or neutered. That sounds very autocratic, I know, but that would be one way to ensure the breed stayed pure. 

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