The Fan Hitch Volume 5, Number 1, December 2002

Newsletter of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

Editorial: Hoof Beats and Zebras
Featured Inuit Dog Owner: Merv Ehrich 
Jubilee Medal Awarded to ISDI Co-Founder
Blue Eyes in Norwegian Greenland Dogs
ISD Enthusiasts Speak out on Blues Eyes
ISDI's Official Stand on Blue Eyes
Mountie, Alouette and Moose
Following Nanuk's Tracks
The Qitdlarssuaq Chronicles, Part 1
News Briefs:
New ISDI Scandinavia Web Site
Atanarjuat Update
Dog Teams in Iqaluit
Grammar Lesson
ISDs in Museum Exhibit
Poem: Lost Travellers
Book Review: first Nations.... first Dogs
ISD Enthusiast's First Novel Published
IMHO: Seeking to Answer the Wrong Question

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.

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
News Briefs

ISDI Scandinavia Web Site

Dear friends connected to the ISDI,

As some of you may be aware, the web link to Norsk Grønlandshundklubb,  <>, is no longer in function and has been out of order for a time now. However, there is now a new site for the Inuit Sled Dog International - Scandinavia, with Norsk Grønlandshundklubb as the subtitle. 

We'll try to keep up the spirit and interest for the breed and the ISDI, with an even closer connection than before, and will attempt to be the organization's eye in the northern part of Europe.

Ove Nygaard

Norsk Grønlandshundklubb
2150 Årnes, Norge / Norway
Phone: +47 - 63 90 08 74. Cell: 980 86 121 /980 40 264

Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner: Home Release Update
by Sue Hamilton

I've been getting lots of excited comments about the film by folks lucky enough to have seen Atanarjuat on the big screen, and many inquiries wondering where and when it will be released for home viewing. In Canada the VHS/DVD should be available in most major video retail outlets as of November 19th. People can begin requesting it at their favorite video store now. The VHS/DVD in the USA will not be out until the end of this year or early next, after Atanarjuat has finished running across the big screen. It is also currently in theatrical release in the Czech Republic, Germany, Norway and Australia.

The DVD is coming out this fall in the UK, France, Netherlands and French-speaking Switzerland.

Isuma Publishing is offering a companion book and film soundtrack CD. The 240 page book, which comes in either hard or soft cover, includes the screenplay in both Inuktitut and English, hundreds of film stills, notes on cultural life and archival photos.  Costs are: paperback $32.95; hardcover $49.95; CD - $17.95; paperback and CD - $39.95; hardcover and CD - $57.95 . Tax, where applicable, and shipping are extra. Prices reflect both Canadian and US dollars.

Ordering details may be found at  Print copy Fan Hitch readers may get more information by writing to Igloolik Isuma Productions, 5764 Avenue Monkland, Suite 223, Montreal, QC H4A 1E9, CANADA or faxing 1-514-486-9851.

Location of Dog Teams in Iqaluit Still Unsettled
by Sue Hamilton

Stories in the November 15 and 29, 2002 issues of Nunatsiaq News online, indicated the location of picketed dogs teams has still not been decided. This is an ongoing matter that was brought to The Fan Hitch readers back in May 2000 (V2, N3). The issue began in March of 1998, when a young girl wandered alone into the midst of a team of dogs picketed 300 metres out on the ice and was mauled to death. 

According to the news reports, dog team owners (one a city councillor) are not pleased with the list of areas the city council had designated on October 22, 2002 for their teams. Once again owners have stressed that keeping dogs away from their supervision and from humans in general is considered a greater hazard for both the dogs and for people. Additionally, the push to move dog teams out of the city has been likened to a repudiation of Nunavut's cultural heritage.

At  a November 26th meeting of the city council, the debate stormed on, with councillors returning this issue to the planning committee for further review when no agreement was reached on acceptable locations to picket dog teams. One councillor was convinced that there could be no decision that would totally satisfy all sides. Another insisted that the tradition of dog teams used for hunting has been replaced by snow machines.

The following appeared in  the October 2002 issue of Up Here magazine as well as on the web site.  It appears here with permission of UpHere Magazine. Ed.

Grammar Lesson

I was surfing your site when I came across your review of "Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner" (UpHere, November/December 2001). You referred to Zach Kunuk as an Inuit filmmaker. As the Editor-in-Chief of The Fan Hitch, the newsletter of the Inuit Sled Dog International, I have often pondered the correct usage of the word 'Inuit' when used to describe the ethnicity of an individual, since Inuit is the plural of 'Inuk.' Is 'Inuit' used correctly in this case or is it used instead of 'Inuk,' figuring that not many readers would know what an 'Inuk' is, while those same readers understand the meaning (more or less) of 'Inuit'? I would love to have your point of view.

Sue Hamilton
Harwinton, Connecticut

Good question. Our editorial department spent an entire morning arguing this point, and the fight got very heated indeed. (Any one else with an opinion, by all means fire away.)

In English grammar, the singular noun denoting nationality, as in 'He is an Italian', is often the same as the adjective which refers to the provenance of a particular thing, as in 'He likes Italian food. (Although there are examples in which the two forms use different words: 'He is a Spaniard. He likes Spanish film.')

The singular, Inuk, and the plural, Inuit, are words that English has imported from Inuktitut. If the well-established principle of using the singular as adjective were applied, the correct form for the adjective would indeed be Inuk.

English is known as a rule-breaking language that bends to accept what common usage dictates. While occasionally we see the singular standing in for the adjective, the plural form, Inuit, is used far more frequently in Northern and southern writing as the adjectival form.

At Up Here we tend to stick with this convention, ergo Zach Kunuk is an Inuk. And he is an Inuit filmmaker.

One further note: Though we generally stick to 'Inuit' as the adjective when writing for the magazine, we don't consider 'Inuk' to be incorrect.

Answer Lady
UpHere Magazine

Inuit Sled Dogs Seen in Southern California
by Sue Hamilton

Yes, it's true. ISDs can now be found in Los Angeles… at least their images can. The presence of the ISDI website has once again put the Inuit Sled Dog into the limelight. The breed was spotted by The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NMH), which has an exhibit on dogs entitled "DOGS: Wolf, Myth, Hero & Friend". 

The ISD was one of nine breeds profiled (the other eight were: Pekingese, Basenji, Estrela Sheep Guarding Dog, Boston Terrier, Dalmatian, Xoloitzcuintle, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Sloughi), and I was asked to provide photographs and to assist in drafting the text  now residing on a computer interactive display. This component is only one of about fifty in the exhibit. There are approximately five computer interactive components. The majority of the exhibit is not on computer. 

Of the seventeen images submitted, eight were chosen. About five other photographs (sources unknown) complete the presentation. The final version of the text that accompanies the ISD module is approximately 450 words (about half of what I offered) describing origins, "jobs", current population status, and a behavioral description that indicates "the Inuit Sled dog is most suited to a working environment rather than as a stay-at-home pet."

Three ISD images appear elsewhere in the exhibit as well: at a slide show/silent video near the entrance to the exhibit (providing an array of images reflecting the human/dog bond throughout history), at one of the kiosk's back panels in the middle of the exhibit that discusses dogs’ adaptations to endurance running, and in a wall mural showing about one hundred different breeds of dogs.

The exhibit premiered on October 13, 2002 and will remain at the NHM until January 5, 2003, at which time it will begin touring the United States for a minimum of five years. The first stop is San Diego, California in January, where it will remain through the summer of 2003.  Subsequent venues have not yet been confirmed. Apparently, this is a very fluid process and contracts are usually only confirmed and signed within six months of opening. The only other confirmed booking is in Washington D.C.  June-September, 2004. The Fan Hitch will provide updates as they become available. Those of you in North America may like to consider contacting a similar museum near you to suggest they host this traveling exhibit at their facility.

In lieu of payment for the use of the images, the NMH has made a generous donation, at my request, to the Rebecca P. Idlout Library in Pond Inlet, Nunavut.

For those of you connected to the internet, there is a dog web site to support "DOGS: Wolf, Myth, Hero & Friend".

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