The Fan Hitch   Volume 18, Number 2, March 2016

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

From the Editor: A Kaleidoscope of Activity

Is there a vet in the house?

The Sledge Patrol update

In Search of John Flick

My Life with Dogs

Canadian Inuit Dogs I have owned, raised and trained:
a photo essay; Part 2

Inuk VOD Release

From the NFB Archives: How to Build an Igloo

Film Review: People of a Feather

IMHO: What Do You See?

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.
From the Editor....
A kaleidoscope of activity!
“It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important…It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit…You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
                                                                                                        Mahatma Gandhi
There has been a fair amount of goings on in the three months since the December issue of The Fan Hitch.  In no particular order…..

I made the mistake of answering the phone when the caller I.D. said “Private Caller”. I was then verbally hammered and threatened during a brief yet volatile barrage of self-righteous indignation (after a terse, frigid and disingenuous apology) by a California college associate professor/anthropologist because I complained about her failure to seek permission before she filched an entire article from The Fan Hitch and, without even including proper credit, used it as part of her course syllabus. (I found this during one of my periodic scans of the www.) Fortunately the response from the college’s president was more productive. He got the IT department to quickly yank the page’s URL.

Fortunately, that bad taste quickly dissolved, the result of correspondence received shortly thereafter about the possibility of an exciting Inuit Dog genetics/cultural history project initiated within the circumpolar north! What a rapid turn around that was! From the depth of a stressful confrontation to the possibility of what will surely be a significant contribution to the body of information on Inuit Dogs and their history of association with their aboriginal humans. So glad these two communications didn’t occur in reverse order.

There has been talk of two other possibilities for DNA studies including or involving Inuit Dogs, one originating within the United States and the other within Arctic Canada!

Recently I received an email from an Anatolian Shepherd Dog group with a request to reprint an article from The Fan Hitch journal written by Johan and Edith Gallant, "Breed, Landrace and Purity: What do they mean?"  It is a pleasure to share the Gallant’s important writing with other aboriginal landrace enthusiast  (not to mention being asked first).

It has been at least four years since I met Jonas Warme Moe, a young Norwegian whose enthusiasm for the life and times of Norwegian explorer Eivind Astrup knows no bounds. At the beginning of this month he got to test out a reproduction of Astrup’s sledge being drawn by Gisle Uren’s (another long-time Norwegian friend met through The Fan Hitch) Greenland Dogs working in fan hitch formation and wearing the Astrup reproduction leather dog harnesses Jonas made. This took place with Astrup’s grand-grand nephew in attendance! I am over the moon with their project collaborations and successes!

Also ongoing, and for about the same length of time, has been the seemingly unending wait for the North American release (it already exists in Germany and Greenland) of the region 1 format DVD of the fantastic movie Inuk. (Actually, the review was in the very same issue of The Fan Hitch as Jonas Moe’s first contribution, “Astrup’s Harness”, December 2012.) There have been several heretofore announced release dates, a couple of them this past quarter. The most recent, received a week before this issue went on line, said Inuk will come to North America next month, but not as a DVD.

As frustrating a wait as this has been, it pales in the face of the heartbreaking request I received from Robert Bradbury, nephew of March 2008 contributor to The Fan Hitch, John Shepherd. Bradbury reports that his Uncle John has been missing almost since that March 2008 story about why he bought Mike Skidmore’s Changi painting. Bradbury would like to introduce Uncle John to his twin grand nieces and re-connect in general with his yet unfound uncle. We’re all hoping this story has a happy, happy ending…soon.

My ongoing pet peeve – one of the many anyway – of seeing (again this past quarter) people, some of whom wrote for Pulitzer Prize winning publications, use or fail to correct ‘words’ like “Inuits” has got me thinking about including a glossary/definitions to The Fan Hitch website’s home page. I hope to be working on that in the coming months with the help of knowledgeable friends and Inuktitut language organizations.

I learned about an exciting Arctic Canadian project in its early stages involving the exploration of the great Knud Rasmussen who, among his other expeditions travelled across Arctic America (and wrote a book of the same title) during his Fifth Thule Expedition (1921-1924). I am hoping to put together a couple of articles in the June issue of The Fan Hitch on the project along with related book reviews.

Also in this past quarter year, I received a request for help with a project that has no relationship whatsoever to Inuit Dogs or Inuit culture, but found its way to me based on articles about Inuit Dogs, the tradition of dog team travel and a brief history of mushing which I wrote eons ago and then submitted to someone’s blog. The friendliness and enthusiasm of the person seeking help encouraged me to do what I could – with the generous assistance of others far more knowledgeable on the subject than I – in support, despite my long-standing opposition to the stimulus of the inquiry.

The activities which have transpired over the past three months have introduced me to lovely (except for that light-fingered, pissed-off faculty member) people from many different locales and professions, including: veterinarian, author, screen writer, language specialist, historian, museum curators. Grateful to have made their acquaintance, I have been enriched.

Some of what I’ve described you will read about in this issue of The Fan Hitch; others hopefully in June; still others you will have noted that I have been very circumspect about revealing details. The purpose was not to tease you. Folks involved in those projects have specifically asked for or deserve confidentially at this stage of their work and I aim to respect their wishes. I am hoping, however, that at some point down the road there will be more happy news to share with you.

Wishing you smooth ice and narrow leads,
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