Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik March 15, 2017 - 11:45 am

Nunavik’s annual dog sled race set for March 27 start

"We believe we are reaching our ultimate goal, to ensure the return of the qimmituinnaq"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Ivakkak 2017 dog teams will leave Umiujaq March 27, en route to the race's finish line in Ivujivik. Thirteen teams will compete in this year's event. (PHOTO COURTESY OF MAKIVIK)
Ivakkak 2017 dog teams will leave Umiujaq March 27, en route to the race's finish line in Ivujivik. Thirteen teams will compete in this year's event. (PHOTO COURTESY OF MAKIVIK)
Mushers prepare a dog team outside the mission house in Kangiqsujuaq in 1959. (PHOTO BY MARY COWLEY/AVATAQ)
Mushers prepare a dog team outside the mission house in Kangiqsujuaq in 1959. (PHOTO BY MARY COWLEY/AVATAQ)

Thirteen dog teams will take off from Umiujaq March 27 as part of Nunavik’s 16th annual dog team race.

Ivakkak 2017 teams will navigate the Hudson coast this year, stopping in Inukjuak, Puvirnituq and Akulivik en route to the race’s finish line in Ivujivik.

Ivakkak has grown into a popular winter tradition throughout Nunavik in the 16 years since it first launched. Makivik Corp. created the event in 2011 to encourage Nunavimmiut to maintain the tradition of dog sledding, a practice that was nearly lost to the region following the killing of Inuit dogs in the 1950s and 1960s.

“We continue to see the youth and the elders active in this lifestyle and we believe we are reaching our ultimate goal, to ensure the return of the qimmituinnaq, the Inuit sled dog, which was vital to Inuit survival across the North,” said Andy Moorhouse, Makivik’s vice-president of economic development, in a March 14 release.

“We wish all participants a safe and successful participation to this year’s race.”

Ivakkak typically moves to a different region each year. Last year, the race participants departed from Quaqtaq and heading south down Ungava Bay to the finish line in Kuujjuaq.

Tasiujaq musher Willie Cain Jr.,running his 13th Ivakkak race, and his mushing partner Daniel Cain Annahatak won the 2016 edition of the race with a total time of 30 hours and 55 minutes.

This year’s 13 dog teams will be accompanied along the race trial by Ivakkak’s lead co-ordinator, the support crew and a veterinarian.

Stay tuned for race updates or follow the race online at the Ivakkak website or at the race’s Facebook page.

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