The Fan Hitch Volume 4, Number 3, May 2002

Official Newsletter of the Inuit Sled Dog International

Table of Contents

Editorial
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Featured Inuit Dog Owner: Chuck Weiss
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Research Paper 1: Survey of Diseases and Accidents
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When to Start Working Dogs
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A Day in the Woods
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Future or Death
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Reality Check: Reproduction or the Real Deal
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Behaviour: Qiniliq Learns His Place
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High Arctic Mushing: Part III
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Book Review: Igloo Dwellers Were My Church
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Janice Howls: All Along the Watch Tower
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IMHO: Friends and Allies


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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: http://thefanhitch.org.

Print subscriptions: in Canada $20.00, in USA $23.00, elsewhere $32.00 per year, postage included. All prices are in Canadian dollars. Make checks payable in Canadian dollars only to "Mark Brazeau", and send to Mark Brazeau, Box 151 Kangiqsualujjuaq QC J0M 1N0 Canada. (Back issues are also available. Contact Sue Hamilton.)


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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; gmontcombroux@gmail.com
ISDI Coordinator USA:
Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791, mail@thefanhitch.org

                                                                                    Hamilton photo

In My Humble Opinion: Friends and Allies

by Mark Hamilton

For the next couple of minutes here let's imagine that the very last Inuit Dog left on Earth has just died and the breed is now as extinct as the Passenger Pigeon.  Besides you and I, who do you think will notice or care? Who else will be "attending the funeral" as it were? Please indulge me here as this depressing little scenario is really an exercise in discovering who our friends are; who's an ally, who's not.

Professional ecologists/naturalists get all upset, and point fingers at the popular target(s) of the day, when the animal in question is a salamander, or a tree frog for instance. But I've never seen the status of a domesticated species be of any importance to them. Apparently they exclude mankind, and it's creations from the "natural" world, so I for one wouldn't expect much in the way of comfort from them.

Similarly, I've seen the scientific/academic community show more interest and concern in the preservation of "old" strains of corn and tomatoes, than in an ancient, domesticated canine breed. I wouldn't recommend holding any seats open in anticipation of their arrival.

Would the Federal government show interest here in the United States? I think probably not. As far as I know, of all the people in Washington DC, Senator Robert Byrd has the closest connection to sled dogs (via his uncle Admiral Richard Byrd and the Admiral's use of Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies on his expeditions to Antarctica).  Sue and I sent the Senator a letter soliciting governmental assistance a number of years back when the New Hampshire birthplace of the registered Alaskan Malamute was tumbling down and in need of rescue. We never received a response.

If we choose to act as our own publicists, and flood the print and broadcast media outlets with well-written, informative news releases, no doubt we'd receive coverage, and some portion of the animal loving segment of the population would be saddened at the news. Since the majority of those people likely would have been previously unaware of the Inuit Dog it wouldn't be an event of any consequence in my opinion.

There are certainly people in the sled dog fraternity who would notice and care at some level. Recently, I've met some Malamute fanciers whose interest in the Inuit Dog is only to learn about them for knowledge sake. I'm sure they too would notice and care.

Certainly, there are Inuit who would mourn the loss, others who would only be concerned that they could still be able to get good working dogs somewhere and still others who wouldn't mind at all. That's not any different than it would be down here, other than the percentages of the population falling into those three categories would likely be quite different than down here in the South. Pragmatism would certainly force them to put the event in context with the larger challenges of self-rule, providing health care, educating their young and of jobs creation.

So, what's the point in all this is? First and foremost, it's my opinion that if someone can't be bothered to come to your funeral, you can't reasonably expect much in the way of help or support from him or her while you're still alive. That means, for the Inuit Dogs, here in the South, you and I are pretty much it. We've found each other over the course of the last several years. While I believe there may still be a few of "us" remaining to be discovered, in large measure we're it. Second, and of even more consequence, in the Volume 4, Number 2 issue I wrote about our increased visibility and the resultant loss of privacy that brings. Now that we've all acknowledged our newfound visibility, we must figure out how to use it to the benefit of the ISD. We're talking goals and projects. We need to know your ideas.

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