Table of Contents
What's in a Name?
Away: The Liberation of Ove Nygaard
What is the
ISDI and the ISD?
A Holiday Miracle
Sheep and Sled Dogs
How They're Loaded
The Truth Behind
the Madrid Protocol
Globe Trekker - Iceland and Greenland
Review: Ryobi TrimmerPlus®
the Trail: Bitches in Season
IMHO: Super Cars
and Inuit Dogs
Edition: Imaged and distributed
by the IPL students of the Ulluriaq School,
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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$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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Inuit Sled Dog International
Sled Dog International (ISDI)
is a consortium of enthusiasts whose goal is the
preservation of this
arctic breed in its purest form as a working dog.
The ISDI's efforts
concentrated on restoring the pure Inuit Dog to
its native habitat. The
ISDI's coordinators welcome to your comments and
Qamutiit and How They're Loaded
by Sue Hamilton
Despite its simple design, the qamutiq (singular of qamutiit) is quite
a piece of engineering. Consider the creativity of the original versions
that contained no wooden parts. Those had animal bone lashed together with
thin strips of hide for the structural elements, and runners made of frozen
fish laid end-to-end and wrapped in hides. The bottoms of runners were
thick layers of mud and moss with a finishing made smooth with urine and
a lot of "elbow grease". Keeping that contact surface as smooth and as
frictionless as possible was extremely labor intensive and it didn't take
much to destroy all the hard work.
Today's qamutiit vary in length and can be as long as eighteen feet.
They have runners made of two by six or two by eight dimensional lumber
(although the one's in these photos are made of aluminum) and have wooden
cross pieces that are still lashed together for the flexibility that prevents
them from self-destructing over rough ice. Some qamutiit, especially those
used in Greenland have what we might refer to as a "driver's bow" at the
back. But even with that feature, there is barely any runner extending
out enough to stand on. The runner's "shoes" are made from the same type
of "poly" that you see on many brush sleds, only this stuff is a lot thicker,
so thick that extra pieces are carved into the crescent shaped toggles
and other fittings used to attach the long bearded seal skin traces to
the end of the harnesses and the other end of the traces to the qamutiq's
Loading a qamutiq is a well organized activity. It cannot be done haphazardly,
if it is going to secure the contents and offer some semblance of comfort
for extra passengers for long-term travel. Presented here is a pictoral
lesson of how to load a qamutiq in ten easy steps.
Plywood, which is used underneath the camp stove inside the tent, is laid
over the cross-pieces. The orange tarp, stretched out inside the tent over
the snow or ice, is placed over the plywood. The tent ridge pole is laid
out on top of that.
The tack box (some food stuffs and supplies) is placed near the back of
the qamutiq where the tarp ends, leaving adequate room behind for stove,
fuel cans, stake out chain, cooking utensils and hopefully seals that may
be harvested along the way. Secured in this spot, the tack box also serves
as a seat for one or two passengers and a backrest for those who sit directly
in front of it.
A huge tarp is stretched out over the qamutiq and onto the snow on either
side. An insulated "cooler" containing perishable items (yeah, I know that
sounds weird, but the weather can warm up to above freezing and it would
be a shame if the ice cream melted!) is positioned toward the front. This
sturdy box serves a seat for the driver when he isn't running dogs from
a reclined position.
Duffel bags containing the tent, extra clothing and sleeping bags are strategically
placed in between the tack box and the cooler provide cushioned seating.
Insulating foam pads for use underneath the sleeping bags are laid on top
to keep passengers from falling in to the cracks in between the duffel
The tarp is carefully folded over the load. This will help keep the contents
from shifting and oozing out between the lashings during rough travel.
Caribou hides placed the length of the load provide dry and skid-free seating.
These skins are used underneath the sleeping bags for additional insulation
The load is lashed down starting at the front of the qamutiq. As the bearded
seal skin line is looped over each end of a cross piece, the load is compressed
by kneeling on it while the line drawn up tight.
Long items such as ice knives, shovels and firearms are tucked in along
the sides for quick and easy access.
A separate section of line is used to secure items behind the tack box:
- stove, tea pot, other supplies and the camera bags - so they can be separately
and swiftly removed for a quick mug up of tea or photo opportunities in
between camp sites.