The Fan Hitch Volume 13, Number 4, September 2011

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

Editorial: We’ve Moved!

Historic Ceremony in Kangiqsualujjuaq

Passages: Heiko Wittenborn

In the News

Point of View: Veterinary Service in Nunavik

Chinook Project: Summer 2011 Report

Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories

Making a Mitten Harness

Media Review: Martha of the North (video)

IMHO: Historical Perspective or Hyperbole

Index: Volume 13, 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

Defining the Inuit Dog

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:

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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....

The Razboinichya Canid         Courtesy of PLOS One

33,000-year-old dog-like skull found in a Siberian cave

The online BBC Science & Environment section recently described the scientific study "A 33,000-Year-Old Incipient Dog from the Altai Mountains of Siberia: Evidence of the Earliest Domestication Disrupted by the Last Glacial Maximum". The paper was published by a team of international scientists led by Nikolai D. Ovodov of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Novosibirsk, Russia.

The team found a well-preserved "dog-like canid" skull, identified as the Razboinichya Canid, and described it as being unlike either modern dogs or wolves but somewhere between millennia-old Greenland Dogs and ancient European wolves. The skull’s radiocarbon dating placed it to around 33,000 BPE. It is claimed to be some of the earliest evidence of dog domestication.

The study was published on July 28, 2011 in the open access journal PLOS One (Public Library of Science) and is available in its entirety to read here.

Quebec’s Proposed Anti-Tethering Law

A draft regulation of a new Quebec, Canada law regarding dogs (and cats) was made public on June 22, 2011. Article 27 says, "No animal shall be attached to the outside more than twelve hours a day." Of course, if passed, this proposed law will have a major impact on all mushers in the province. But it will be especially heinous to the dog men and women of Nunavik (Arctic Quebec) where there are few practical options to picketing dogs. Also, primitive aboriginal Inuit Dogs and other working sled dogs are not at all suited for indoor confinement. Due to the volume of comments received from mushers, the August 5 deadline for responses was extended to August 26 and during this extension period, no more email responses were accepted, only those by snail mail.

Makivik President Pita Aatami has expressed his concern regarding the proposed law/article 27 to Quebec Premier Jean Charest who was in Kangiqsualujjuaq on August 8 to offer his province's apology for the dog slaughter that took place during the mid-twentieth century.

The Fan Hitch submitted a letter to Madeleine Fortin, Assistant Deputy Minister, Branch Animal Health and Food Inspection, whose office has been receiving commentary on the proposed legislation, expressing that if Article 27 is passed, it would be incompatible and culturally insensitive to Nunavik dog team owners. A copy of the letter was sent to Quebec Premier Jean Charest. In light of his August 8 speech apologizing for the slaughter of Inuit Dogs in the mid-twentieth century, it would seem he ought to be concerned about the pending law.

Piksuk Media Update

Qimmit: A Clash of Two Truths is now available in Canada for $16.95 from The National Film Board of Canada store through their website.

For availability elsewhere, contact the National Film Board of Canada, Sales and Customer Service, D-10 P.O. Box 6100, Station Centre-Ville, Montreal Quebec H3C 3H5, Canada; phone: 1 514 283-9000; fax:1 514 283-7564, Attention: Sales and Customer Service; email

The Nunavut Quest six-episode documentary has been delivered to the broadcaster, the Aboriginal People's Television Network, to be broadcast in Winter 2012. No definite date has been set.

The launch of the Nunavut Quest website and game is expected to be early winter.

Igloolik Isuma Productions Closes

Twenty-five-year-old Igloolik Isuma Productions has gone out of business. The maker of the award-winning trilogy Atanarjuat, The Journals of Knud Rasmussen and Before Tomorrow and many other fine productions including the Nunavut (Our Land) TV series was not able to make payments owed to creditors, although some debts have been repaid.

However there is good news as well and reason to be optimistic for the future. Igloolik Isuma principals Zacharias Kunuk, recent recipient of the Governor General's Northern Medal (created to "honour citizens whose actions and achievements have contributed to the evolution and constant reaffirmation of the Canadian North as part of our national identity."), and Norman Cohn assured their audience that their Isuma Distribution International's Isuma.TV, launched in 2008 as a platform for Inuit and other aboriginal films and documentaries, is alive and well and will continue to offer thousands of films, including everything produced by Igloolik Isuma since their 1985 beginning. Their new company, Kingullit Productions Inc. will be focusing on achieving high speed internet streaming of Isuma.TV content to all Nunavut communities by 2013. "Kingulliit and Isuma.TV together allow us to move forward in ways Igloolik Isuma Productions was unable with only limited support from Nunavut agencies," Cohn said.
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