The Fan Hitch Volume 10, Number 4, September 2008

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

In This Issue....

From the Editor

In the News

Ladies' Ellesmere Vacation

Sled Dog Physiology: Non-Invasive Techniques

BAS Vignette: How Do You Say Good-bye?

Sledge Dog Memorial Fund Update

Report: The Chinook Project in Kimmirut

Bannock revisited

Book Review: Land of the Long Day

Behavior Notebook: On Being a Social Facilitator

Tip: Dealing with Those "Dirty" Boots

Index: Volume 10, The Fan Hitch

Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch

Articles to download and print

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

Talk to The Fan Hitch

The Fan Hitch home page

ISDI home page

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Editor: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
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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.
In the News….

1944; Kinngait (Cape Dorset), Nunavut
J.L. Robinson / Library and Archives Canada

Qikiqtani Truth Commission Updates


June 12, 2008

The Qikiqtani Truth Commission has completed hearings in Resolute Bay, Grise Fiord, Arctic Bay and Pangnirtung.  The Commission was unable to get into Qikiqtarjuaq as scheduled due to weather.  Qikiqtarjuaq has been re-scheduled for November.

The Commission's mandate expressly states that it would not deal with the High Arctic Relocations; since this dealt with by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.  This likely affected the low-turn out for Resolute and Grise Fiord.  However, Commissioner Igloliorte did hear from individuals about their life experience after relocation, including but not limited to the subsequent relocation from the drop-off site to the new settlement in the mid-1970's.

In Resolute, the Commission heard about problems associated with drinking due to the existence of bars, police separating couples having marital problems,  living in a segregated community, unreasonable hunting prohibitions and restrictions, development of sport hunts, requirement for people to tie up dogs in the community, the shooting of dogs, introduction of snowmobiles, going to school outside of the community, living by the dump and shack home construction.

In Grise Fiord, the Commission heard about the effect of the High Arctic Relocation compensation settlement, persons relocated from Pond Inlet to Grise Fiord, and the shooting of one family's dogs by several family members.

In Arctic Bay, the Commission heard about relocation of Inuit from Cape Dorset to Kivinaluk on Somerset Island and when that closed, their relocation to Arctic Bay.  Several people spoke about the shooting of dogs, the requirement for dogs to be tied up in the community, and the inoculation of dogs against diseases. Commissioner Igloliorte also heard about the provision of housing and promises of low fixed rent, two instances where a person became mentally unstable and their subsequent killing by other Inuit for the protection of the group, the development and employment from Nanisivik mine and the non-payment of Inuit for services.

In Pangnirtung, the Commission heard about the shooting of dogs (sometimes because the dogs were loose and they weren't suppose to be or because some dogs were neglected and become vicious, plus the lack of chains to tie up dogs).  Several people spoke of an epidemic of dog sicknesses, a family member being mauled and killed by a dog, municipal by-law regarding loose dogs, introduction and subsequent abolishment of bounties for loose dogs, policy of shooting loose dogs on designated date and the lack of informing Inuit of laws.  Commissioner Igloliorte also heard about the relocation of Inuit from the camps to the settlement, child welfare benefits, housing and the promise that rent would remain fixed at a low rate, relationship between Inuit and non-Inuit, annual medical checks on the CD Howe ship, people being sent away for TB treatment, being sent away for school, the non-payment or inadequate payment for services (i.e. 2 days of unloading ship supplies in exchange for some chocolate, no payment for looking after patients), people freezing to death due to the ice going out unexpectedly and due to the lack of a health centre.

The next community hearing is in Iqaluit, June 16th - 20th.

QTC currently has the first drafts of community histories for Kimmirut, Cape Dorset, Sanikiluaq, Resolute Bay, Grise Fiord, Arctic Bay, Qikiqtarjuaq, Pangnirtung and Iqaluit.  It is important to note that these will be amended as more information is obtained from subsequent archival research and the inclusion of the Inuit history from the community hearings.  On-going additional research is being done, on specific issues such as dog disease / dog control and the dog ordinances, health care, education, housing, etc.  The archival researchers are visiting and accessing government files from the National Archives, DIAND archives, Dept. of Agriculture archives (dog specimens reports), NWT Territorial archives, Hudson Bay archives, Carleton University (newspaper articles), etc.

QTC continues to work with RCMP Headquarters and Nunavut V Division.  QTC is accessing historical "RCMP Annual Conditions Among Eskimos Generally" Reports and "Conditions of Game (Wildlife) Reports."  In addition, QTC is accessing RCMP files related to the production of their 2006 Inuit Sled Dog Report for review and analysis.  The RCMP has provided a support letter that can accompany QTC letter to retired RCMP members in the hopes of increasing their numbers for contributions or attendance at QTC hearings.  Commissioner Igloliorte has committed to spend some of its own funds for this purpose.

In addition, QTC has established dialogue with the Deputy Minister of Justice, GN with respect to RCMP policing contract and provision of policing services in Nunavut.  QTC has also established a relationship with the Inuit Secretariat and has been provided a copy of Federal-Inuit Relations Report (yet to be released).  Additionally, QTC is in contact with NTI (NSDC) with respect to the development of recommendations around building better relationship between government and Inuit, i.e. Article 32, etc.  QTC has provided its first report to the Gordon Foundation for the first installment of its contribution to QS for QTC.  The second installment should be released by mid-June.  QTC negotiated significant discount on air travel with Makivik, saving the Commission several hundreds of thousands of dollars.  QTC has also provided regular updates to Makivik and recently extended a welcome to their recently appointed Commissioner Croteau.

QTC over the summer expects to take this 'down time' - since there are no community hearings - to get it's website up, to complete and tidy up the transcripts from the community hearings, and to summarize the individual testimonies.  All of which will also be put on QTC website.

The remaining communities (Pond Inlet, Clyde River, Igloolik, Hall Beach, Qikiqtarjuaq) will be done this Fall.  In addition, Kimmirut is being re-done and there will be a hearing in Ottawa in November.  At the Ottawa hearing, QTC expects to hear from several retired RCMP members, past government advisors, retired northern newspaper editor, academics who have written about the north and Inuit regarding this historical period, and QIA and the RCMP institutional presentations.

In conclusion, QTC believes the community visits can be completed by December of this year.  Once this information has been gathered, the other written, research and video components of the Commission is to be completed by September 2009.

QTC Update: August 8, 2008

Right now the Commission is busy doing catch-up work over the summer but not holding any hearings.   This also gives us an opportunity to work on content for our website and get this up and running, hopefully by the end of the summer or sometime in September.  

September 5, 2008

The Qikiqtani Truth Commission resumes its community hearings next week.  The Commission’s first fall hearings will be in  Hall Beach and Igloolik as early as September 8th and 11th respectively.  The remaining Qikiqtani communities of Qikiqtarjuaq, Clyde River and Pond Inlet will be completed by the end of October.  The Commission is also returning to Kimmirut on Monday September 15th.  The Commission will be holding one hearing outside of Nunavut, in Ottawa at the end of November.   

"We're at the half waypoint with respect to the community hearings.  To date, we’ve had close to 200 people come before the Commission.  The reception, attendance and participation at our hearing have been tremendous.  There are a lot of people who wish to relay their historical accounts to the Commission and in doing so are contributing towards the development of a fuller and more accurate history.  Several witnesses have also relayed that by sharing their past painful experiences, they have experienced some form of healing" said Commissioner Igloliorte.   

The Commission's mandate is to investigate historical government decisions and the effects of those on Inuit in the Eastern Arctic from 1950 to 1980.  The type of issues people have shared relate to relocations, education, family benefits, health care, housing, and the killing of dogs.  The main objective is to ensure an accurate history of events. The process adopted by the Commission seeks to promote reconciliation and develop recommendations to further achieve that objective. 
Any person with relevant information is invited to contact Joanasie Akumalik with the Commission at 1-867-979-7036 or their QIA Community Liaison Officer. 
For further information please contact Madeleine Redfern at (867) 979-7035.   

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Makivik Corporation’s "Dog-Cull" Probe

Makavik has not responded to our request for an update on their investigation.

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Up Here Magazine

The September 2008 issue of Up Here Magazine includes an article by Nathan VanderKlippe entitled "What Happened to the Dogs?". It presented a frank description of both sides of the issue currently under investigation by the Qikiqtani Truth Commission and Makivik. Up Here chose the story as one of their featured articles by listing it in a black banner at the very top of their cover page.
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