Dances with Dogs
November 21, 2022 5:59 PM   Subscribe

He introduces me to the dogs as he harnesses them one by one: “... This is Aske ‘Qulikiqtaaq’ Walker, after baseball player Alan Walker. This is Tuugaaq, meaning narwhal tusk. This is Asgard, big guy named after the Norse god. ... This is Carlos, named after a cab driver in Mexico. And this is Grillis, named after British Adventurer Bear Grylls—I used to have a dog called ‘Bear’ but a bear came into town and ate that dog. Happily, someone in town shot that bear and gave me the meat to feed the other dogs. Seems only fair. This is Bear’s replacement in the team.”
Devon Manik says, I usually hunt with the dogs. It’s really a great job. I feed a lot of people.”
posted by Rumple (4 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
That is an interesting article, thank you for posting it.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:34 PM on November 21 [2 favorites]

What an incredible and inspiring person, carrying on traditions while bringing them to the world via social media and feeding a community.

There is a lot of obnoxious commentary from Internet people about Inuit hunting, and I thought this was an excellent response:
Still, he’s seen how posting on Instagram invites online trolls to comment on his hunting lifestyle. “They try to label us as part of the problem,” he says. “I want them to know that we’re not part of the problem. The problem is the big system, burning fossil fuels, and mining, destroying the environment. That’s the real problem. That’s also affecting us. We want to protect these animals just as much as you do, because we rely on them. We know if we overhunt them, they’ll die. There will be no more food, no more animals. We need them. If they’re gone, we’ll be gone too.”

Such wisdom. Such clarity. Such grace and determination.
posted by lookoutbelow at 8:29 PM on November 21 [3 favorites]

I'm fascinated by the use of the dogs both as hunting animals and also as draft animals. It makes sense--in Siberia, laika are sometimes used that way (though I think generally in much smaller numbers)--and certainly with any kind of bear hunting with dogs, you want to have enough dogs with you that it's hard for the bear to focus on any individual dog. Especially, yikes, hunting a polar bear in an environment that precludes treeing a bear.

I'm curious about his dogs, too: it sounds like he's one of the conservation breeders working to keep the old traditional strains alive, and I'm looking forward to reading through his Instagram to find out whether he talks about that. I follow a Malamute person who often talks candidly about the origins of the modern Malamute breed and how they differ from the Inuit dogs, particularly the M'Loot strains which are bigger and fluffier, and about how the temperament of the dogs is adapted to a specific kind of husbandry that doesn't necessarily align easily to the way that we keep dogs down here. (Among other things: a lot more dogs interacting primarily with dogs they've known most of their lives and are familiar with.)

(I am also mildly curious about the use of the whip. If it's anything like horses, the whip is probably primarily used as a closer-up auditory cue or to tap a dog rather than as anything like a weapon.)

Anyway, thank you for sharing here; I'm looking forward to reading further!
posted by sciatrix at 8:31 PM on November 21 [2 favorites]

After I posted I got totally absorbed scrolling the Instagram for (*checks timestamp*) over half an hour – just so much incredible imagery. It's like living in another world. Not for the squeamish as it shows the whole process beginning to end.

There's another 60 photos taken by the article author from this trip on his instagram:
posted by lookoutbelow at 9:14 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]

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