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The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at: http://thefanhitch.org.
The Fan Hitch welcomes your letters, stories, comments and suggestions. The editorial staff reserves the right to edit submissions used for publication.
Contents of The Fan Hitch are protected by international copyright laws. No photo, drawing or text may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Webmasters please note: written consent is necessary before linking this site to yours! Please forward requests to Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Rd., Harwinton, Connecticut 06791, USA or firstname.lastname@example.org
This site is dedicated to the Inuit Dog as well as related Inuit culture and traditions. It is also home to The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog.
The Inuit Dog: Its Provenance, Environment and History, by Ian Kenneth MacRury.
All profits from its sale (thanks to the generosity of it author) are used to pay for the web host, print more copies of this publication as needed, make both cash donations and that of the publication to institutions who further the interest of the Inuit Dog in the Arctic.
The History of the Canadian Eskimo Dog Recovery Project (DVD, 67 minutes), John “Umelik” McGrath’s 1998 Presentation.
All profits from the sale of this video support the Ilisaqsivik Society in Clyde River, Nunavut (see below).
* * *Are you seeking to learn more about the Inuit Dog and related Inuit culture? Do you want to travel to the Arctic or experience travel by dog team? Or are you looking for a way you can "help out"? We can make a few recommendations to you based on our own experiences with the following organizations and groups.
Listed below are select non-profit organizations that provide good and needed services in the north, adventure tourism outfitters who use aboriginal dogs and sources of film and print media to add to your collection.
Please note: The Fan Hitch website and journal does not accept paid advertising. There is no quid pro quo arrangement, financial or otherwise, with the organizations and resources listed below.
Arctic Eider Society
The Arctic Eider Society is a registered Canadian charity working with Inuit and Cree communities to provide training and capacity in community-driven research, culturally relevant education for youth, and innovative tools and technologies to help communities address issues of food security, safety and environmental stewardship for sea ice and marine ecosystems.
We develop meaningful relationships with communities, combining indigenous knowledge and traditional tools with scientific research and cutting edge technology to address issues of local concern. We empower youth and hunters with the training, tools and technology they need to document and address the changes they are observing.
By connecting programs among communities and engaging the public and decision makers using innovative multimedia and communication strategies, we are turning knowledge into action for environmental justice issues in Hudson Bay and across the Arctic.
Canadian Animal Assistance Team
The Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT) is a registered group of veterinary technologists, veterinary assistants, veterinarians, dedicated to providing veterinary medicine to communities in need, including those in the Canadian North. Through CAAT’s Animal Health Care Clinics, they provide a variety of veterinary services including but not limited to sterilization, vaccination and parasite control, all essential in the health and well-being of the animals. The health of animals, the health of people and the health of a community are undeniably intertwined. Providing care for the animals, can also have a direct effect on the health of the people and the health of the community as a whole.
The Chinook Project
The Chinook Project, based at the Atlantic Veterinary College, Prince Edward Island, provides free veterinary care to one isolated community in Canada's north each summer.
Ilisaqsivik Society and their Qimmivut Program
Ilisaqsivik is a non-profit community initiated and community-based Inuit organization in Clyde River, Nunavut, dedicated to promoting community wellness. Ilisaqsivik provides space, resources, and programming that enable families and individuals to find healing and develop their strengths.
The Qimmivut (Our Dogs) workshop introduces Clyde River youth and young adults to Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) through dog teaming and land-based hunting and camping trips facilitated by experienced mushers, hunters, and elders. Musher instructors are paired with youth apprentices for several expeditions to traditional camps of historical and cultural importance. Traveling by dog team provides an excellent opportunity to transfer IQ, including practical navigation, travel, camping, tool making and harvesting skills. Participants learn specific skills such as caring for and working with dogs, commands, how to make dog harnesses, leads, whips, and backpacks, safe winter travel and camping, and hunting and fishing. In the evening, the group stays in cabins, where lessons taught on the land during the day are reinforced through discussion, Inuktitut vocabulary review, and storytelling. Instructors also talk about the history of dogs in the community, and the historical significance of dogs for Inuit culture and traditional livelihoods. Through a combination of hands-on learning and informal social time, Inuit societal values including building a strong relationship with the land, the value of hard work and team work, and having respect for oneself and others, are reinforced. Overall, the workshop helps reaffirm and teach IQ, as well as promote the development of mentoring relationships between Elders, adults and youth.
Angry Inuk is a 2016 Canadian feature-length documentary film that defends the Inuit seal hunt, as the hunt is a vital means for Inuit peoples to sustain themselves… The film also criticizes NGOs such as Greenpeace and the International Fund for Animal Welfare for ignoring the needs of vulnerable northern communities who depend on hunt for their livelihoods
The Far Fur Country DVD Combo Pack
In 1919, a film crew set out on an epic journey across Canada’s North. Over the course of six months, their expedition traveled by icebreaker, canoe, and dog sled, capturing the Canadian fur trade in a silent feature documentary. The Romance of the Far Fur Country was released in 1920, two years before the legendary film Nanook of the North. Rediscovering the documentary in a British archive, another film crew begins a journey to bring this lost film back to life, taking it to the northern communities where the film was originally shot. As people watch the footage from 1919, something special happens. Images come to life; people recognize their family members, their landscapes, and their lost traditions. Contrasting then and now, On the Trail of the Far Fur Country is an intimate portrait of Canada and its Aboriginal people, and a chronicle of how life in the North has changed in the last century. Read Five Door Film's Kevin Nikkel's story about the project here.
Okpik’s Dream, written and directed by Laura Rietveld and produced by Katarina Soukup, is a quiet, unpretentious documentary with many powerful messages. Yes, it is a classic story of resilience and triumph over adversity, both on cultural and personal levels. But there is much more to appreciate. There are many archival still photos and videos, gorgeous vistas. The viewer gets to observe close up what it is like living in small Nunavik hamlets. There are many, many scenes of dogs, caring for dogs, working with dogs, with a portion of the film devoted to the 2013 Ivakkak. This must-have DVD is seventy-three minutes long. Included is an incredible selection of thirteen informative extras.
Purchase Okpik’s Dream here.
The Meaning of Ice: People and sea ice in three Arctic communities
edited by: Shari Fox Gearheard, Lene Kielsen Holm, Henry Huntington, Joe Mello Leavitt,Andrew R. Mahoney, Margaret Opie, Toku Oshima and Joelie Sanguya
The scope of this publication is truly overwhelming. Cover-to-cover, it provides readers with a far-reaching understanding of circumpolar life, past and present – from the perspective of the People who have occupied the North for millennia – that likely will not be collectively found elsewhere. Those of you who have an interest in polar culture and tradition (and dog team travel) will most definitely want to have your own copy!
The Meaning of Ice: People and sea ice in three Arctic communities ISBN 978-0-9821703-9-7 (2013); hard cover and beautifully jacketed, 11.5” x 10.75” x 1.75”; 416 pages, 645 color illustrations, 22 maps, 7 figures, 9 tables all in five-and-a-half pounds. It is published by the International Polar Institute Press and distributed through the University Press of New England with all proceeds from the sale of The Meaning of Ice: People and sea ice in three Arctic communities being directed to programs in the three communities described; also available through online booksellers.
Houston North Gallery
The Houston North Gallery is almost exclusively devoted to showing, selling and educating the public on Inuit art and culture.
The Houston Family has more than 60 years of artistic collaboration with the Inuit of Canada, beginning in the 1950s when John’s father, James Houston brought world recognition to the art of the Inuit people. For nine years, the Houston Family lived in Cape Dorset on Baffin Island and helped establish a strong market for their art.
Through the Houston North Gallery, this legacy has continued while providing an educational outlet to help others learn more about Canada’s North and the people who have populated it for thousands of years.
The gallery currently carries John Houston’s Award-Winning Arctic Trilogy Songs in Stone: An Arctic Journey Home, Nuliajuk: Mother of the Sea Beasts, and Diet of Souls. The gallery also offers Kiviuq and The Most Interesting Group of People You’ll Ever Meet, John’s celebration of the life of his late father. John's most recent film, The White Archer, is inspired by the children’s book written by his father. All six films have won awards both in Canada and internationally.
An Inuit-owned publishing company, with head office located in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Inhabit Media is the only independent publishing company located in the Canadian Arctic. Its aim is to preserve and promote the stories, knowledge and talent of Inuit and northern Canada.
Since 2006, Inhabit Media has been working to encourage Inuit and non-Inuit Arctic residence to share their stories and their knowledge, and to record the oral history of the Canadian North. Inhabit Media’s aim is to ensure that Arctic voices are heard and that they have the opportunity to contribute to Canadian literature. Inhabit Media has been working with Elders and storytellers to ensure that the rich story-telling culture of the Inuit is preserved and passed on. As well, it has been working with Elders, hunters and knowledgeable residence to ensure that the rich traditional knowledge about the environment is not lost.
Inhabit Media’s authors, storytellers and artists bring stories and knowledge to life in a way that is accessible to readers in both North and the South.
Polarworld is a fabulous multi-media website where you can find all manner of North and South Pole and other cold region-related knowledge – books, photography, fine art – on many subjects: exploration, travel, adventure including mountaineering, biographies of individual polar travelers, culture of arctic people. Although very broad in subject matter, there is also a focus on the life and times and fabulous artwork of Sir Wally Herbert who lead the 1968-1969 British Trans-Arctic Expedition with three other men each with a team of ten Greenland Inuit Dogs. An archive of his fifty-years of polar travel and work is being established.
People of a Feather, documentary of the Arctic Eider Society
Featuring stunning footage from seven winters in the Arctic, People of a Feather takes you through time into the world of the Inuit on the Belcher Islands in Canada's Hudson Bay. Connecting past, present and future is a unique relationship with the eider duck. Eider down, the warmest feather in the world, allows both Inuit and bird to survive harsh Arctic winters.
Traditional life is juxtaposed with modern challenges as both Inuit and eiders confront changing sea ice and ocean currents disrupted by the massive hydroelectric dams powering New York and eastern North America. Inspired by Inuit ingenuity and the technology of a simple feather, the film is a call to action to implement energy solutions that work with nature. (90 minutes)
The Canadian Inuit Dog: Icon of Canada’s North
Author Kim Han’s skills as a librarian, her living near physical access to several fabulous Ottawa museum resources for on-site research and image acquisition, her firsthand knowledge, thanks to her daughter, into the world of the aboriginal landrace Canadian Inuit Dog, and her many Canadian Arctic friends – skilled and renowned dog teamers all – provided her support, resources and tales that have helped make The Canadian Inuit Dog: Icon of Canada’s North a fresh perspective, a must-have book to be enjoyed by Inuit Sled Dog and all northern working dog enthusiasts. All profits are being directed to Ilisaqsivik Society’s Qimmivut Program in Clyde River, Nunavut. Please visit the lovely website that the author has created for her book here.
The National Film Board of Canada
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB), a government agency, was established in 1938. "The overarching objective of the National Film Board is to produce and distribute audio-visual works which provoke discussion and debate on subjects of interest to Canadian audiences and foreign markets;" The NFB is a repository for a large collection of outstanding historical productions documenting Inuit hunter/gatherer existence. Many of these films are for sale and some are even available for free online viewing.
Please visit The Fan Hitch Index of Articles by subject…Media Review…for over sixty recommendations. Book and video reviews are far too numerous to list here individually.
Mahoosuc Guide Service
Mahoosuc Guide Service in Newry, Maine, USA is a small family run business with over twenty years of experience. Owners Kevin Slater and Polly Mahoney have for over a decade traveled extensively in the Canadian north, enjoying the company of many Inuit friends, and they are eager to share this cultural experience with their clients. When the very last Inuit Sled Dogs were ordered to leave Antarctica back in 1994, Kevin and Polly were honored to be selected as the facilitators for the dogs' relocation/"repatriation" to Inukjuaq, Nunavik, Arctic Quebec.
NorthWinds is owned and operated by Matty McNair who, with her kids Sarah and Eric, has made her home in Iqaluit, Nunavut on south Baffin Island, since 1990. Matty contributed to polar history in 1997 when she led the first commercial polar expedition, guiding the first women’s expedition to the Geographic North Pole. She has since guided three expeditions to the South Pole and a dog sledding expedition to the North Pole. NorthWinds offers polar training, kiting and dogsled expeditions and multimedia presentations.
Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge
With about sixty dogs, Wintergreen's owner, renown polar adventurer Paul Schurke’s kennel in Ely, Minnesota, USA represents the largest single population of pure Inuit Sled Dogs in North America and perhaps the world. If you're looking for hands-on experience with the breed, Wintergreen, with its mushing journeys of varying length around the boundary waters region of Minnesota is the place! Wintergreen also offers clients cultural dogsledding adventures with Inuit in Northwest Greenland.