The Fan Hitch Volume 4, Number 4, September 2002

Newsletter of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

We Are Not Alone
Research Paper II: Occupational Osteoarthritis
Who is an ISDI "Member"
Northern Inuits (sic), Again!
High Arctic Mushing: Part IV
The Inuit Dog: Its Provenance, Environment and History
Preserving "Bear" Dogs
Janice Howls: Extinction
IMHO: Little Minds, Little Worlds
Index of The Fan Hitch, Volume IV

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Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

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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.

Contents of The Fan Hitch Website and its publications  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

Milestones or Mile Markers?

Right about now I am filled with the same emotions as I experience when the qamutiq comes to a stop on the beach at Pond Inlet after a multi-day adventure out on the ice  - relieved, a sense of accomplishment, of bittersweet emotion of being both glad and sorry it's over. This issue of The Fan Hitch marks the last one for our fourth, our FOURTH publishing year. Wow! Not only did I never imagine  (when we decided to give this a go back in July 1998) that we'd make it this far, but even if someone could have assured me that we would, I could never have guessed at the impact the newsletter, and indeed the ISDI has had "out there". 

In The Fan Hitch you've read a lot about the good and the bad side of the visibility Inuit Dogs have achieved not only by way of the ISDI and The Fan Hitch, but also as a result of their exposure via owners themselves. Most recently, this exposure has afforded the ISDI an opportunity to present a realistic portrayal of our breed as part of a museum exhibit on dogs and how they work for man (more on this in the next issue). On the flip side of this experience, the Inuit Dog has, within the past year, been included in one of those popular dog books, a collection of (supposedly) all northern breeds. The bulk of the information provided on the ISD by this northern breed owning author included a history, description and attributes. In my view the material was poorly written, uninformative and not all correct. This could be potentially harmful when one considers the possibility that the information may be misconstrued by a novice reader seeking to make rational choices in the selection of a northern breed as a companion/pet. And speaking of "great family dogs", those darn Northern Inuits (sic) have surfaced again. In researching this latest flap, I discovered a website where two beautifully written commentaries included references to both the ISDI home page as well as a couple of Fan Hitch articles. We are apparently widely known and read and sought out for many reasons. In several cases of loyalty down the drain, some of the saddest motivations for ISDI being contacted are due to Canadian Eskimo Dog breeders who essentially abdicated their responsibilities to and have become estranged from their buyers. We cannot abandon these owners' requests for help. Given the unconscionable number of other breeds of dogs in rescue, ISDI must continue to be proactive in public education as well as to provide a safety net to those owners who seek our advice, albeit after buying a dog they either couldn't handle or who feel they could be successful, if they only had someone with experience and genuine concern to mentor them.

Taking into account the big picture, despite all the good that has come with our visibility, I continue to feel unfulfilled regarding the newsletter. Over The Fan Hitch's four years, there have been a paltry two contributions about Inuit Sled Dogs from Inuit people. Regardless of the reasons, this is a crying shame! I hope to figure out some way of improve on that and I openly seek your support and ideas to make things right.

With respect to the future of the Inuit Sled Dog, I have no illusions that The Fan Hitch represents anything beyond a newsletter that readers hopefully find entertaining and informative. Yet, we seem to be on a road to somewhere. Maybe we have not witnessed/experienced milestones as much as mile markers, a series of inuksuiit, indicating that we have traveled a road to who knows where.

Wishing you smooth ice and narrow leads.


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