|Featured Inuit Dog Owner....
Daniel with some of the new Inuit
Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik, CANADA
TFH: When you were
growing up did
your family have sled dogs? If so, did you
have any pure dogs?
DA: When I was young, all of the dogs in
pure. Our family had some dogs, but my parents had
We used our snowmobiles often. My uncle Johnny Sam
had a team of
dogs that he used for camping and for tourism. My
brother Sandy also
had a team he used mostly for tourism.
TFH: Since your
family used dogs,
do you think it mattered to them if the dogs were
pure or not?
DA: It seemed that there were very few mixed dogs,
none back then. A dog was a dog for them—they didn't
purity. But, some dogs were born with short
legs—these dogs were
not good in soft snow.
TFH: How long have
you been keeping
DA: From when I started at twelve years of age
When I was younger, I had a team of four dogs, but I
borrowed some dogs
from my uncle for longer trips. When I was thirteen,
my friend Jamie
and I would go to the Korac River with our dog teams—we
had about eight
dogs per team.
TFH: Do you use
them for hunting,
tourism or just as a way of getting out on the land?
DA: We use the dogs to get to fishing spots or to
go for a "joy
ride". We don't use them to go hunting very
often. I plan to
use the dogs more often for camping and fishing, so I sold
one of my snowmobiles.
Now we only have one snowmobile—I'll use my dogs more
tourism, I don't have any plans now—maybe in the future.
TFH: How many dogs
do you currently
DA: I have thirteen dogs altogether. Four of those
new to my team—they are pure Inuit Sled Dogs. Three
are from Linda
Fredericksen in Minnesota, and one is from Allen Gordon in
Annie, Daniel's wife, with her new
TFH: How do you
keep your dogs?
DA: The nine adult dogs are chained up near the
The three dogs from Linda are together in one pen beside
my house. The
very young puppy from Allan is in a pen by herself for
now. When the new
dogs are bigger they will join the adults. I plan to make
two large pens
in the summer for all the dogs
TFH: What do you
DA: I feed them anything I have—char, seal, whale,
etc. We also feed them leftover food from our meals—soups
and stews especially.
Even some elders phone me when they have leftover food for
I feed the dogs commercial dog food when we are running
out of country
TFH: Tell us about
how you raise
your dogs and train them to be part of your team.
DA: I plan to integrate the new dogs with my team
soon. So far,
the younger ones have already been pulling light loads and
I am training
them to turn left, right and stop—they are responding
TFH: What is the
reason for your
interest in the pure Inuit Sled Dog?
DA: The pure dogs from when I was young are
different from the
dogs we have now. Many dogs in town are mixed from other
pure Inuit Sled Dogs are tougher dogs and they are better
for pulling sleds.
The mixed dogs we have now get tired faster and are often
hurting the pads
of their feet.
TFH: Are you
surprised by the level
of support and interest you have received regarding
DA: I am surprised and very happy about the
support. I really
wanted to get the pure dogs back in our community, but I
could not afford
to pay a lot of money for the dogs, fences and food. Most
people that want
to start mushing in our community, especially the youth,
don't have a lot
of money. Qimmiit Utirtut gives support so that anyone can
if they want to.
TFH: What else
would you like The
Fan Hitch readers to know about you, your dogs
and your vision for
the future of the pure Inuit Sled Dog?
DA: We don't want to lose the pure Inuit Sled Dog.
I hope that
mushers will share their Inuit Dogs with other mushers in
If we all cooperate, we can get many pure dogs in Nunavik
again. We want
to see more mushers in Kangiqsualujjuaq and in Nunavik.
Daniel and his students got a bearded
food for the dogs and hide to make