The Fan Hitch Volume 6, Number 3, June 2004

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Content

Editorial: Who Are You and What Do Want?
Fan Mail
F.I.D.O.: Ludovic Pirani
Geronimo's Travels
The Breeding and Maintenance of Sledge Dogs: Part I
How We Met Tom
Dog Yard Tips
Setting a New Standard
In the News
Behavior Notebook: Qiniliq and Sunny
IMHO: Unnecessary Roughness

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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One method of feeding dogs               Hamilton photo

Unnecessary Roughness

by Sue Hamilton

"Top Dogs" by John F. Ross, in the January 2004 Smithsonian Magazine, was a story about the author's dog sledding adventures in Greenland with Paul Schurke. Apparently, it generated much interest on the subject of the Inuit Sled Dog and its polar environment and prompted one reader to submit her comments to the magazine's editor. These appeared in the March 2004 issue in the letters to the editor section. Ms. Rosemarie Trudeau's comments may have been the hyperbole of an animal rights activist who condemns the pragmatic way Inuit  choose to end the suffering of their sick or injured sled dogs or perhaps she really meant to accuse Greenlanders of similarly treating their kin. Even if her words were uttered out of ignorance (and it is not clear if this is the case), they should not have been published (and they certainly won't be seen in The Fan Hitch). Ms. Trudeau's despicable remarks were surpassed only by the actions of the Smithsonian Magazine editor who chose to print them. What was he thinking? Why on earth did he afford this person a stage to blather on with detestable criticism about a culture of which she seemed to know nothing? What was it about her comments that could be identified as worth sharing with other Smithsonian Magazine readers? 

I went to the Smithsonian web site and left my own comments at their on line guest book . I submitted a letter of protest to their feedback section and, not feeling certain that my concern would reach the right eyes, I sent another letter to what I believed to be a more personal address. All that was back in May, right after I first read the Smithsonian Magazine's March 2004 letters to the editor. Then I emailed Paul Schurke to make sure he was aware of it. Turns out that he and some of his fellow travelers from that trip had indeed read Ms. Trudeau's comments and had also sent letters of protest to the Smithsonian Magazine. Not one of us has received a response.

Back in early 2003, ISDI was approached by a Smithsonian Magazine assistant asking for our help in providing some background material for the "Top Dogs" author. We eagerly complied. Yet in the printed version of the story, there were no referrals to resource material where readers could learn about Inuit Dogs and the culture of the Polar Inuit. And for the online version, Geneviève Montcombroux's book  The Canadian Inuit Dog: Canada's Heritage was listed but without any ISBN or where to buy information. No acknowledgment was made of Ken MacRury's thesis, even though a copy was sent (and referred to in the story); and there was no suggestion that readers might wish to visit the ISDI web pages (from where the magazine got our contact information in the first place) to learn more about ISDs and the North. Perhaps the magazine editor felt that readers with computers could do their own research and those without computers could hoof it over to their library. From her letter, it appears that Ms. Trudeau failed to make a good faith effort to understand someone else's way of life before shooting off her mouth. But the editor didn't have to give standing to Trudeau's gaffe by publishing it. What are we to think of the Smithsonian Magazine, representing an institution which enjoys an iconic status with the public, who gives a podium to nasty, useless rhetoric, but fails to extend the courtesy of a reply to those of us who voiced our shock at Trudeau's remarks and their publication? 

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