The Fan Hitch Volume 11, Number 2, March 2009

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog
In This Issue....

From the Editor: Working Dogs Ė
Reasoned Perception or Illogical Vision

Fan Mail

In the News

Evolutionary Changes in Domesticated Dogs:
the Broken Covenant of the Wild, Part I

The Gentrification of Working Breeds

Qimmiit Utirtut is Four Years-Old!

Sledge Dog Memorial Fund Update

Behavior Notebook:
Curious Naturalist

Remembering a Stunning Achievement

Book Review: The Polar World: the Unique Vision of Sir Wally Herbert

IMHO: You, a Reader of 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

Editor's/Publisher's Statement
Editor: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at:

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

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....

Makivik Corporation Continues Their Dog Slaughter Interviews

On January 7, 2009 Lucy Grey, hired by Makivik Corporation "to coordinate the Independent Examination of the Inuit Husky Dog Slaughterings of the 1950s and 1960s" reported that over 120 witnesses have been heard so far in the Nunavik communities of Kuujjuaraapik, Umiujaq, Inukjuak, Puvirnituq, Akulivik, Quaqtaq, Kangirsuk, Aupaluk, and Kuujjuaq.

From February 15 to 27, 2009 the tour collected testimonies in Ivujivik, Salluit, Kangiqsujuaq, Tasiujaq, and Kangiqsualujjuaq, the balance of Nunavik's communities.

The report will likely be completed sometime late spring or early summer 2009.

Qikiqtani Truth Commission February 2009 Report

Status of Hearings
The Qikiqtani Truth Commission has now completed all community hearings. The last hearings were held in Pond Inlet, Ottawa and Sanikiluaq. The Commission held 15 community hearings, including two community revisits: Kimmirut and Sanikiluaq. Kimmirut was the first community the Commission visited and gained new knowledge and insights from its subsequent hearings and Kimmirut warranted a revisit. The Commission revisited Sanikiluaq due to the fact that a hunter was missing during the Commissionís first visit. As a result, several community and family members were not able to provide testimony. Commissioner Igloliorte returned to Igloolik to interview several people that were unable to testify earlier when the Commission held its public hearings.  QTC will also be hearing from three senior academics and a retired social worker who worked in the NWT (Frobisher Bay and Igloolik) in the 1960s. They will be speaking to the Commissioner or to the QTC researchers.

Status of Archival Research
QTC has completed all archival research with the exception of records held by the Anglican Church of Canada Archives. This research is scheduled for late March 2009. Extensive and thorough archival research was done at the National Archives, DIAND, RCMP, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, HBC, and Carleton University. Several individuals, such as Bud Neville and Bryan Pearson, also granted the Commission access to their private collections.

Research and Commission Database
QTC is making all hearing testimonials and archival research accessible through a searchable database. The database has been used to manage the research, improve access through a search function, and organize information by community and by topic, such as housing, health care, dogs, policing, and education.

Research Analysis and Report Writing
QTC now begins the process of organizing all this information into thematic reports to assist Commissioner Igloliorte in his understanding of these historical issues and to support the formulation of his final report. These background thematic reports serve three functions. They give the Commissioner information for his report; they will be widely distributed as appendices to the final report; and they will be repurposed for the QTC web site.

Hearing Testimonies
Extensive work is underway to process, track, translate and access the testimonies of 500 or so individuals who provided information to the Commissioner. All testimonials are also being summarized. QTC commissioned the filming of all community and private hearing testimonials. All but the last community of Sanikiluaq has been delivered.

Gordon Foundation Funding
QTC is happy to report that it has obtained its second year of Gordon Foundation funding.  QTC commissioned the production of all thirteen Qikiqtani community histories for the Commissioner to increase his awareness of each communityís history prior to his arrival. The first drafts of the community histories have been delivered.

QTC continues to update all relevant stakeholders of its work and progress. Stakeholders include both levels of RCMP and DIAND, as well as various GN Departments and Inuit organizations Ė NTI, QIA, ITK and Makivik. This approach maximizes the sense of partnership, openness, transparency and accessibility. In addition, the Commission believes that these stakeholders will have a sense of ownership and buy-in of the final report and recommendations that promote reconciliation. 

Consultation and Promotion of Reconciliation through Commission Process
QTC has revised its approach with key stakeholders with respect to facilitating the receipt of institutional submissions and presentations to the Commission. Commissioner Igloliorte will meet with stakeholders to share the Commission's preliminary findings. The purpose of the meetings will be to better inform stakeholders about what the Commission has heard from witnesses and what it has learned from its review of archival records and other documents. While the QTC recognizes that a wide range of social justice issues affect the Baffin Region, the QTCís mandate is focused on a set of historic events in the transition period when Inuit moved from the land to government-managed settlements.
At the present time, the Commissioner has not determined whether he will be ready to share his conclusions or preliminary recommendations when he meets with stakeholders. At a minimum, the meetings will be designed to allow for a meaningful dialogue between the QTC Commissioner and the RCMP concerning specific historic events, such as the killing of sled dogs, which have led to lingering grievances between Inuit communities and federal agencies, especially the RCMP.  A second meeting in the same format will be convened with other stakeholders, including DIAND, NTI, GN and QIA, who have followed the work of the QTC and have expressed an interest in having a deeper understanding of the history of the Baffin Region and its communities.
Stakeholders will be given an opportunity to ask questions regarding factual evidence from hearings and the archival record and to inform the Commissioner about any ideas, perspectives or initiatives that he should consider when formulating his recommendations to the QIA. The most important purpose of the meetings, however, will be to provide a forum within which the QIA and stakeholders can consider relevant lessons from the past that should inform the design and delivery of services in the Baffin region today and in the future.

As part of the consultation and reconciliation process, the Commission hopes to bring the draft report back to 13 Qikiqtani communities to inform the QIA membership of its findings, both at that community level, regional level and what it has learnt from its archival research. Often Inuit are interviewed for information but rarely is the information along with its analysis or conclusions brought back to the communities. This step, while not initially envisioned, is one the Commission hopes to undertake but can only do so if there is sufficient budget or a supplemental budgetary request is made, either to NTI and/or QIA. This will be revisited and reconsidered by the Commission around June.

Schedule and Budget
QTC is one month behind on its original 1st year schedule but given that the Commission revisited Sanikiluaq and added one new archives to be searched (Anglican archives situated in Toronto) this is more than satisfactory. The Commission remains on schedule and budget with its original work. 

The final deadline for the Commission report remains March 2010. The Commissionís goal is to have a draft report presented at the QIA AGM in the fall. The Commission intends to share the draft report with other key stakeholders for review and input. Again, this approach increases stakeholder buy-in of the report with the ultimate objective that the reportís recommendations are accepted and more likely to be implemented, thereby increasing reconciliation and building better relationship between government and Inuit.

Qikiqtani Truth Commission
P.O. Box 1340
Iqaluit, NU
X0A 0H0

Tel: (867) 979-7035
Fax: (867) 979-1217
Return to top of page