The Fan Hitch   Volume 16, Number 2, March 2014

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

From the Editor: Taxonomy

Taxonomy in Relation to the Inuit Dog

Steve’s Solo Journey

In the News

Far Fur Country Progress Report

Digital Indigenous Democracy Comes to the Canadian North

Media Review: Nuliajuk: Mother of the Sea Beasts

New Printing of Inuit Dog Thesis

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

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...

Andy Attagutalukuutuk placed first in the 2012 Nunavut Quest
Photo generously provided by: Clare Kines Photography

Article about the Nunavut Quest

Freelance writer and photographer Margo Pfeiff has written an excellent story about the Nunavut Quest. It was published in the December 2013 issue of UpHere Magazine.

Parvovirus in Grise Fiord

According to a January 29, 2014 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) news story, there has been a suspected outbreak of parvovirus in the Canadian high arctic hamlet of Grise Fiord. Like rabies and distemper, dog deaths due to parvovirus can be prevented by administering vaccinations.

Cat parasite identified in Beluga Whales

At the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2014 annual meeting (Chicago, Illinois, USA, February 13-17), Dr. Michael E. Grigg of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, USA reported the discovery of a parasite in beluga whales (an aboriginal country food staple) in the Beaufort Sea (western Canadian high arctic). The identified parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, is commonly found in domestic cats. According to the abstract of Grigg’s presentation, “Population expansions of definitive hosts [in this case domestic cats] near marine estuarine environments due to climate change and anthropogenic disturbance [human impact] has led to increased deposition of highly infectious oocysts [parasite eggs] and widespread exposure of marine wildlife to these pathogenic pollutagens, particularly after storm events.” 

It isn’t clear just how many whales were found infected. In a February 20, 2014 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), North news report, the Northwest Territories’ head physician, Dr. Andre Corriveau says there have been no reported cases of human infection in the NWT in the past twenty years. At highest risk of potentially very serious or even fatal illness are pregnant women and others whose health may be compromised in other ways.

Why is this being reported in The Fan Hitch? Contamination in the North is nothing new. For hundreds of years explorers, missionaries, fur traders and others have been bringing their non-native dogs and those dogs’ diseases and non-indigenous genes to contaminate/infect, infiltrate and threaten the existence of aboriginal dogs and the people whose lives depended on them. Yet to this day little if anything has been done to establish protocols that could protect the North from these noxious biological migrations. Veterinary services in northern communities is limited, services that could not only improve the lives of the domestic animals now living there, but also monitor food sources for zoonotic diseases (like T. gondii) that can threaten humans who eat harvested country food such as marine and terrestrial mammals (seal, whale, polar bear, caribou, musk ox), fish and birds. (The first case in the Western Hemisphere of the deadly West Nile Virus was identified by a veterinarian who became alarmed by the number of crows found dead around the Bronx Zoo in New York City.)

Sustainable Iqaluit Plan and Iqaluit Dog By-Law Update

Please visit the Sustainable Iqaluit website to learn about the plan.

-------- Original Message --------

Sent: January-31-14 


To: Robyn Campbell

Robyn Campbell, Sustainability Coordinator

Dear Ms. Campbell,

My name is Sue Hamilton. I am the owner, publisher, editor of The Fan Hitch, website and journal of the Inuit Sled Dog. As I am now working on the March issue of our quarterly e-publication, I visited the Town of Iqaluit website in hopes of finding updates on the plans for the new dog by-law to replace the existing one (the former which I was told focused on Iqaluit's working dogs and was formulated many, many years ago in a collaboration with Elders, dog team owners and town officials; while the by-law now under consideration intends to combine issues relating to pet dogs as well as Iqaluit's population of Inuit Sled Dogs).
I have not been able to find any updates on the public meetings about that proposed new by-law, or how many readings have taken place so far. I did read with much interest about the Sustainable Iqaluit plan. Admittedly, I have not had a chance to read every word, but there seemed to be nothing specific regarding the sustainability of Iqaluit's threatened and endangered traditional Inuit Dogs. I did note one mention of dog sledding, one image of a dog team tied out and the name of one dog team owner I recognized listed in the acknowledgements. But that seemed to be it.
I am hoping you can tell me what there might be within the Sustainable Iqaluit plan that will assure the community's working Inuit Dogs are part of the town's long term future in such a way that the traditional use of dog teams will continue to exist and flourish.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Sue Hamilton
The Fan Hitch
Website and Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

--------- Ms. Campbell’s reply #1 ------------------

Subject: RE: [FWD: RE: The Sustainable Iqaluit Plan]
From: Robyn Campbell
Date: Mon, March 03, 2014
To: ""

Dear Sue,
As to Iqaluit’s first Sustainable Community Plan, thanks for your interest. We worked with over 700 residents to crowd-source the contents of the document. We hosted many meetings, held many activities for dialogue, and requested input from all Iqalummiut. The contents of the plan directly reflect the input we received from within our community. It’s a plan for our community, from our community, and it is getting great uptake by our community. During the two years of significant community engagement, the protection of traditional Inuit sled dogs was not a predominant conversation; had it been so, I assure you it would have had a more prominent discussion in this plan.
Having said that, the Sustainable Community Plan is a high-level umbrella document, and is but one of many plans for the City of Iqaluit; other plans and bylaws address the details of our lives and livelihoods. The new dog bylaw is an avenue for issues related specifically to Inuit sled dog teams in Iqaluit.  As to this bylaw, I will seek out its current status, and provide you with an update before the end of the week.
Again, thanks for your interest.

Robyn Campbell
Sustainability Coordinator
City of Iqaluit
2014 FCM Sustainable Community Award winner
--------- Ms. Campbell’s reply #2 ------------------

Subject: RE: [FWD: RE: The Sustainable Iqaluit Plan]
From: Robyn Campbell
Date: Fri, March 07, 2014
To: ""

Dear Sue,

I have been able to follow up with our Municipal Enforcement Chief, Kevin Sloboda, about the status of the City of Iqaluit dog bylaw.
The deadline for completion of the updated bylaw is this April. Kevin confirmed that there will be two dog bylaws: one relating to responsible pet ownership, and another relating to sled dogs.
You can follow up with him directly if you have further questions*.
Robyn Campbell
Sustainability Coordinator
City of Iqaluit
2014 FCM Sustainable Community Award winner


*As of the publication of this March issue, a reply from Mr. Sloboda has not been received. Ed.

Historic video of hard working Inuit Dogs

In a February 27, 2014 news story, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) published a five-minute excerpt of film footage shot about 50 years ago. The filmographer was Bill Pringle who at the time was an RCMP officer assigned to various locations in the North. The video clip included in the news story was shot in in Taloyoak, Nunavut (formerly known as Spence Bay). In it Pringle included scenes of multiple fan hitch dog teams hooked up together to pull a disabled air plane and even a Hudson’s Bay Company building! This is certainly with a look-see! Pringle passed away on January 19, 2014 at the age of 80. His widow, Linda, was kind enough to share this video with the CBC.
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