Early Dog Sledding in the Siberian Arctic and Connections to Practices and Peoples in North America - Robert Losey

9:00 AM, Saturday 5 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
Genetic evidence indicates that dogs in Northeast Siberia are the direct ancestors of Inuit dogs in North America, and many scholars have suggested that the origins of dog sledding can be found in this same region. Dogs and people have been living and working together in the Siberian Arctic for at least 9000 years. At some point, this relationship turned to dogs pulling a variety of types of sleds for rapid and sometimes long-distance travel. In parts of this region, this way of being with dogs is well evidenced by 2000 years ago. Complex sleds are present by this period, as is harnessing equipment such as swivels and buckles. Also by this time, Arctic people had developed specific strategies for feeding their dogs, which often involved providing them with fish or marine mammals. These feeding practices persist throughout many regions of Siberia to this day. Reindeer transport eventually replaces dog sledding in many areas, particularly on the tundra. Some believe that many reindeer sleds are in essence large scale versions of sleds previously used with dogs. Regardless, dog sledding continues in some regions of Siberia, particularly along the major rivers and portions of the marine coastline. Dogs also now have important roles in herding reindeer and continue to be widely involved in hunting.

University of Alberta

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