The Fan Hitch Volume 2, Number 3, May 2000

Newsletter of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

From the Editor
Nunavut Quest 2000:
More Than a Race
Nunavut Quest 2000:
Drivers' Meeting
Nunavut Quest 2000:
On the Trail
Nunavut Quest 2000:
Race Results
Poem: Dogs of the Sledge Trail
Inuit Demand Inquiry of Historical Dog Extermination Policy
Nunavut's Official Symbols
Niels Pedersen, D.V.M:
The Veterinary Service in Greenland
ISDI Foundation:
Sled Dog Problems in Iqaluit
Baking: Dog Cookie Recipe
Crafts: Save That Hair
Behavioral Notebook:
Social Order
Book Review:
Polar Dream
In My Humble Opinion: 
Sharing the Trail
Ihe ISDVMA Meeting

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

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 Website and Publications of the Inuit Sled Dog– the quarterly Journal (retired in 2018) and PostScript – are dedicated to the aboriginal landrace traditional Inuit Sled Dog as well as related Inuit culture and traditions. 

PostScript is published intermittently as material becomes available. Online access is free at:  PostScript welcomes your letters, stories, comments and The editorial staff reserves the right to edit submissions used for publication.

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At the Community Hall, entrants proudly display their race bibs                         Hamilton photo

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 assembly.

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 again.
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 disqualification.
10) Each musher is to feed their own dogs, feeding another musher's dogs may be viewed as foul play and could result in disqualification.
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 place.
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.

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