Table of Contents
Featured Inuit Dog Owners:
Scott & Terry Miller
Nunavut Dogsledding Association
Update: No Resolution in Iqaluit
Season's Greetings from Toadhall
The Homecoming, Part II
The Russian Connection, Part II
Meeting Ken Pawson and Kevin Walton
The Ted Fox ISDI Foundation Fund
Two Years in Antarctica
No Click and Treat for ISDs!
All Breed Kennel Club Registry
The Nunavut Dogsledding Association
by Peter Krizan
The Nunavut Dogsledding Association (NDSA) was established in 1999, in the same year Nunavut became a self-governing Territory. The NDSA adopted the majority of the by-laws and constitution of the Northwest Territories Dog Sledding Association.
The aim of the Association is to improve, perpetuate and promote dog sledding in Nunavut through communication and education of our members. The main objectives are to promote, encourage, and perpetuate dog sledding as a sport, tradition, recreation and utility in Nunavut. The NDSA is to be the regulating body of the sport in Nunavut, it also strives to improve care and breeding of sled dogs in Nunavut, and to advocate and educate mushers on safety.
Currently, the NDSA recognizes two very distinct ways of running dogs. The first, is the "western" style, or as people from the Baffin region call it "the racing style", where dogs are run in tandem and most often using basket or toboggan sleds. Generally, people that run these types of dogs are interested in competing with their teams in organized races. Those teams are mostly made up of Alaskan huskies, a mixed breed.
The second way, and overall probably still the most common way of running dogs in Nunavut, is the "Eastern Arctic" (although not restricted to the Eastern Arctic) style. The dogs used are mostly traditional Canadian Inuit Dogs hitched up in a fan hitch fashion in front of a qamutik. Many of these dog drivers use traditional seal skin harnesses and traces. Although these dogs do not have a history of racing and cannot compete against the faster mixed breeds, they are exceptionally adapted to the harsh climate of the arctic. They can travel very long distances pulling heavy loads and are an important part of the Inuit heritage. Currently there is one race that promotes the "Eastern Arctic" style of running dogs, The Nunavut Quest. One of the goals of the NSDA is to try and organize more racing opportunities for people with Inuit dogs and to promote and encourage this style of dog sledding to be part of the Arctic Winter Games in 2002 that will take place in part in Iqaluit, Nunavut.
This year at the Annual General Meeting in Rankin Inlet, two additional committees were struck: the Inuit Dog Committee and the Committee on Racing and Sport Development. The Inuit Dog Committee has yet to define its exact goals and objectives. However, the overall idea is to bring attention to, emphasize and promote the traditional use of Inuit dogs. Although currently Inuit dogs are used primarily for recreational activities including tourist outfitting and some hunting, we should strive to have them participate and recognized in activities such as "Eastern Arctic" style racing*, and long expedition touring. It is imperative that we promote and educate people about the use of sled dogs in the arctic. The recent problems in Iqaluit exemplify the need to educate people and to project a positive image of sled dogs in Nunavut.
To be a NSDA member you have to be a resident of Nunavut. However, anyone can support the organization by purchasing our merchandise: long sleeve T-shirt, $20; sweat shirt, $30; pin or a badge, $5 (all Canadian funds).
If you are interested in any further information about the Association or wish to make a purchase, you can contact:
The Nunavut Dogsledding Association
Inuit Dog enthusiasts wishing to learn more about this breed's involvement in NDSA, or who are interested in the merchandise may contact:
*Editor's note: Peter's involvement has brought more NSDA attention to the Canadian Inuit Dog and its role in the eastern arctic. He states that "the Inuit Dog is a workhorse. However, competition does not have to be a bad thing." He envisions that such activity could bring good publicity and also increase pride in local dog teams as well as the Canadian Inuit Dog in general. He goes on to say that "having strict guidelines (rules) maybe specifying the use of Inuit Dogs in races such as the Nunavut Quest is important."