In This Issue....
Jason Annanack, grade 7, enjoying a dog team excursion run by
the IPL students and Daniel Annanack photo: Annanack
One Brick at a Time
by Mark Hamilton
A little over a year ago in the December, 2005 issue of The Fan Hitch, you got to know Mark Brazeau, Daniel Annanack, and learned about the Qimmiit Utirtut project at the Ulluriaq School in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik.
In our June, 2006 issue you read a progress report entitled "Developing a Culture of Mushers" describing the lead role that the IPL (Individual Paths of Learning) students had taken in the school's program of guided culture excursions by dog team.
Now the Ulluriaq School's IPL students are taking an active role in the production of The Fan Hitch by printing and distributing our magazine-style edition. ISDI considers everyone with an interest in the ISD - whether an owner, former owner, future owner or non dog-owning enthusiast - to be a "member". Now the IPL students have gone beyond that. They are assuming an active role in the ISDI. They are now staff members of The Fan Hitch and are listed in our journal's masthead.
Having extra help is pretty universally a good thing. John Heywood's aphorism, "Many hands make for light work," applies to The Fan Hitch just as it does for much of life itself. And it is when we look at the statement, "much of life itself" that I have reason to be especially happy about recent developments relating to the ISD and the ISDI.
The first litter of qimmituinnaq (pure Inuit Dogs) has been whelped by the Qimmiit Utirtut project. Elders and other people in the village of Kangiqsualujjuaq are expressing an interest in the dogs, the students are experiencing a part of their culture first hand and recognizing it for what it is, and now the intrepid IPL students have stepped forward and become directly involved with ISDI.
I've said before that the only way I can see for the ISD to survive is for it to have a place in today's Inuit culture. Only that represents the breed "having a place in the Arctic". The ISD has been in a holding pattern for a number of years now. Generations of dogs have been bred to preserve the gene pool, just so the dogs would be available when the people wanted them. It looks to me like we're starting to move out from that holding pattern.
There is still a long way to go, still so many "bricks" to be laid. More communities need to be involved, with more people, more students and more dogs. At some point our friends in government may even wish to participate. But right now the walls for this building are starting to go up, and there are more bricklayers on the jobsite than there were just a couple of years ago.