Table of Contents
Than a Race
of the Sledge Trail
Demand Inquiry of Historical Dog Extermination
Veterinary Service in Greenland
Dog Problems in Iqaluit
Dog Cookie Recipe
Save That Hair
In My Humble
Editor: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
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At the Community Hall, entrants proudly
display their race
Nunavut Quest 2000:
The Pre-Race Drivers' Meeting
by Sue Hamilton
The drivers' meeting was held on Tuesday March 28th at
the Pond Inlet Hamlet office. The large conference
room where the meeting took place was packed with all 13
drivers, their support crews (who were to travel by
snowmachine), race officials who had just come from Arctic
Bay (traveling by show machine along side some of the
teams that were to run the race), and curious onlookers
such as Mark and I. Chairs were lined up along one
wall and there was a small three row gallery section along
the adjacent wall. There was a U-shaped arrangement of
tables occupying most of the room. Some of the folks
seated here were officials from the hamlet of Pond
Inlet. Paul, the mayor sat attentively in the middle
of the bottom part of the "U", the handle of a gavel
resting lightly in his hand. At the end of this
section of table was free lance writer/photographer and
former sled dog racer from southern Ontario, Lee Narraway,
the official race timer. In the center of this table
formation was a shorter table and on it a speaker
telephone, for the long distance dialog with the race
officials remaining behind at Arctic Bay. The
connection was up for nearly all four hours of the
The meeting was entirely in Inuktitut. Except for
the occasional reference to "GPS" and "miles" we didn't
understand any of it. We sat next to Lee who would convey
the proceedings to us as she received them from a woman
sitting next to her who whispered the translation to
her. It was clear that concern was being expressed
for the welfare of the dogs. Last year's event saw
teams out on the trail for up to 16 hours a day. The
drivers felt that bad trail conditions warranted a new,
shorter route, and one was selected. Reasonable distances
between each day's start and check point were desired and
50 miles was suggested. I thought even that was
pretty ambitious, given the trail conditions described.
There was also much discussion regarding the dimensions of
the qamutik, entrants were concerned about their
competitors' not having an advantage due to weight and
maneuverability. With the written rules listing qamutik
size long since available to the entrants and some teams
arriving in Pond a mere two days prior to the event, I
found the need for this dialog rather puzzling.
Below is a copy of all the rules as they were written.
* * *
Additions or deletions can be made to these rules and
regulations for the Nunavut Quest.
1) List of rules to be explained at the Mushers meeting
before the race.
2) *VERY IMPORTANT* Teams require clear identification,
each team is to use their community sealift colors as
their vests with numbers visible from at least 100 feet.
3) No outside assistance along the trail. Only Mushers can
help each other, except in emergencies. One person
will be designated to follow the camp crew, and no one is
allowed to turn back and interfere with or help any
teams. After leaving camp, all persons shall proceed
to the next check point, no one turns back. Any one
who goes behind the designated follower will cause
immediate disqualification to the team they represent.
4) No dogs are to be dropped from a team and left
behind. The dogs are to be carried on a qamutik by
the musher's ski doo driver. If the musher wishes to use
the dog at a later time, he/she must carry the dog on the
qamutik with him/her.
5) If any dogs are missing, they will not be permitted to
join the team again during the race. Dogs left
behind shall be retrieved by ski doo after the teams have
all reached the check point. Disqualified dogs will
be spray painted and will not be required to join the team
6) The teams leave in the order of the fastest times from
the previous day at one minute intervals, and mushers
should be informed of their total time to date each day.
7) A 15 minute penalty will be given to any team that does
not arrive at a check point, the 15 minute penalty
will be added following the last person’s time going into
the check point.
8) Qamutiit are to be 14 feet long, the length will be
measured from tip to tip. Height to be 6" to 8", and
measured not including the runners. The cross pieces
shall measure to 2 feet 6 inches in length (30 inches) and
to be measured from tip to tip. Qamutiit to be measured
before participants depart from their communities and
before the race departs from Pond Inlet.
9) Excessive cruelty to dogs will result in immediate
10) Each musher is to feed their own dogs, feeding another
musher's dogs may be viewed as foul play and could result
11) Harnesses, and style of team to be in the traditional
fanned type team, everything should be hand made and not
ordered from else where. That includes all the
accessories that are required which I cannot translate but
with Roman Orthography reads as follows: sangniruaq and
uqsiq. These accessories can be made from material
chosen by participant.
12) Whips (iparautiit) are suggested to be used as they
come with the traditional package.
13) All mushers are required to bring along a two burner
type camp stove. Each musher will be given a fish a
day, but may bring along any food he/she feels he/she may
need as emergency supply. It is also suggested that
a musher carry a SSB radio with him/her.
14) Guns will be required to be brought along, however,
guns are not to be held unless during emergencies.
15) Any person who wishes to join the race will be
required to pay a $100.00 registration fee.
16) A ski doo driver is required to be able to pitch
tents, prepare dog food, and know how to survive out on
the land. Only people involved with the race should follow
the race, whole families are not required to follow
if they are not ski doo drivers or helpers. If
anyone's family wishes to see the start or finish of the
race, they are welcomed to be in the Communities before
the start or the finish of the race.
17) Two flags and poles will be carried and used each day
to clearly mark the start and finish line for the mushers,
the finish line for the check points shall be required to
be approximately 100 feet from the camp.
18) A megaphone would make it easier for starting the
teams each day.
19) A race official should be appointed to handle
complaints, and to coordinate the mushers' meetings.
20) Two time keepers unrelated to anyone involved with the
race are required.
21) From Pond, all campsites will be left clean, garbage
bags should be provided by the race committee.
Mushers will also carry garbage bags on their sleds and
will be encouraged to use them.
22) The ski doo drivers will be required to carry the
Mushers dog food, and the hosting communities are required
to make sure there is enough dog food for the dog teams.
23) ? Prize money will be paid down to the tenth
24) Finish line will be at Uluksan point, the people will
be asked to wait at the beach in Arctic Bay and requested
not to drive around with ski doo's past the beach.
25) It was recommended that each team may have eight (8)
to twelve (12) dogs.
26) Mushers are required to bring along a saw, a knife and
sleeping gear just in case they get lost due to blizzard.
27) All mushers will start at the same time on the last
leg and sprint to the finish. There will be prizes
other than the prize money.
At the start some teams headed for the
iceberg instead of the trail to Arctic
Bay Hamilton photo
The photographer will be taking photos during the race
but will try to stay back from the teams.