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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.
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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.
Samuelie Ammaq from Igluliq participating in the 2008 Nunavut Quest
Photo: Lee Narraway
Piksuk Media Projects
Piksuk Media's Qimmit: A Clash of Two Truths has been gaining attention at film festivals: First Persons Film Festival in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada (Rigoberta Menchu Second Prize); American Indian Film Festival, San Francisco, California, USA (Nomination for Best Documentary); International Northern Lights Film Festival, Murmansk, Russia (Special mention for an investigative documentary); Global Visions Film Festival, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (not a competitive event). The film is being distributed through the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and a late November statement by an NFB spokesperson indicates, "The DVD is coming."
Since the completion of Qimmit: A Clash of Two Truths, Piksuk Media has been hard at work preparing a documentary on the Nunavut Quest, the annual traditional dog team race, now entering its thirteenth year. While the Quest is competitive, it is quite distinct from what most people think of as sled dog racing. According to Piksuk Media's Charlotte DeWolff, "The event is viewed more as a cultural assertion than a race. All materials used by mushers must be handmade, including the harnesses and qamutiit (sleds). Each musher is accompanied by an advance support team [using snow machines] that sets up camp for the racers each day. If any refuse is left at campsites, the dog team driver is penalized with extra time. If a driver assists another driver who is in distress, the one who helps the other is rewarded by having his time shortened, thus honouring the spirit of co-operation that helps Inuit survive on the land. The dogs used in the quest are also unique. Not a racing breed, Inuit Sled Dogs are not bred for speed, but for endurance and to pull heavy loads."
The six half-hour episodes, with stunning visuals, are expected to be delivered to the Aboriginal People's Television Network (APTN) in January 2011. It is not known when APTN will broadcast it.
But there is even more exciting news! According to DeWolff, Piksuk is developing an educational digital video game built around the Nunavut Quest which "will emulate the experience of a musher racing in the Quest. Players can seek advice from elders by opening a video in a pop-up window. The elders will provide a knowledge base of the topography, weather conditions, characteristics of traditional Inuit Dog care and dog teaming and other knowledge needed to complete the route safely and swiftly. The knowledge base will also include almost forgotten Inuktitut terms and will consist of audio & video recordings, diagrams, and video demonstrations. This information will be archived at Ilisaqsivik's, Ittaq Research and Heritage Centre in Clyde River. It will be incorporated onto the interactive website associated with the television series and portions of it will be used in the video game when a player needs advice in order to make a decision. The website will launch in March, 2011."