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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


March 20, 2004 - Issue 109


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Gentlemen, Start Your Canines

credits: photo: Juusipi Qisiiq leaves Umiujaq in haste, as his dogs eagerly pull his sled across the starting line.

Nunavik's annual dog team race off and running

Juusipi Qisiiq leaves Umiujaq in haste, as his dogs eagerly pull his sled across the starting line.This week, 15 eager dog teams were set to take off from Inukjuak, marking the beginning of the Ivakkak, Nunavik's annual dog team race.

Teams are now heading south, after a stop in Umiujaq, to the finish-line in Kuujjuaraapik, a distance of more than 400 km along the eastern Hudson Bay coastline.

Teams may find themselves travelling through trees as they arrive closer to Kuujjuaraapik where the treeline begins.

The race is expected to last from eight to 20 days, depending on trail conditions and the weather.

Makivik Corporation started the Ivakkak, which means "running at a comfortable speed" in Inuttitut, to promote Inuit Husky dogs and revive the Inuit tradition of dogsledding.

The number of participants has almost doubled since the first year's race.

For the 2004 Ivakkak winner there are a host of prizes. This year's Grand Prize is a 24-foot freighter canoe from the federation of cooperatives of northern Quebec, $3,500 from Makivik, a pair of plane tickets to Montreal or anywhere in Nunavik from First Air or Air Inuit, and two nights for two at the Dorval Airport Travelodge.

The second prize is a 2005 Yamaha four-stroke 15 HP outboard motor from Kuujjuaq Motosport and $2,500 from Makivik.

The third, fourth and fifth places winners will also receive cash as well as other prizes including a handheld GPS and accessories from Umiak Builders, a down parka from Nunavik Creations and camping gear from the Northern Stores.

The Avataq Cultural Institute will award $500 to a young person for keeping elders' tradition alive through his dog team's performance.

This year's competitors, who come from eight of the 14 communities of Nunavik, are: from Akulivik, Adamie Qumak and Nutaraaluk Iyaituk; from Inukjuak, Adamie Inukpuk and Simeonie Elijassiapik; from Kangirsuk, Masiu Nassak; from Kangiqsujuaq, Peter Kiatainaq and Jusipi Qisiiq; from Kuujjuaq, Junior May and George Annanack; from Puvirnituq, Tamusi Sivuaraapik, Bobby Novalinga and Aisara Kenuayuak; from Quaqtaq, Harry Okpik and Willie Kulula Sr., and from Tasiujaq, Willie Cain Jr.

Makivik, Air Inuit and the FCNQ are partners in organizing this event. Air Inuit is transporting the dogs from the communities to the starting point in Inukjuak and then back home at the end of the race, while the FCNQ is providing dog food to all the teams as well as supplies to the participants and support crew in the Co-op stores along the way.

Other sponsors include the Kativik Regional Government, Economic Development Canada, Hydro-Québec, Bell Canada, the Nunavik Tourism Association and Katujiniq Regional Development Council, as well as Raglan Mine, Société Kuujjuammiut, Nunalituqait Ikajuqatigiitut, Pratte Bélanger and Clearwater Fine Foods.

To follow the race day by day, log on to the race's Web site at

Inukjuak, Quebac, Canada Map

Maps by Travel

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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