Qimmeq - a hunt for the soul of the Greenland sled dog

Greenland’s sled dog culture and technology are more than 4,000 years old.

Without this dog the Greenlanders’ ancestors, the Thule people, would have found it difficult to colonise the new world in the Arctic region, and neither Robert Peary nor Roald Amundsen would have been able to conquer the North and South Poles. 

Today, the traditional knowledge of dog sleds, its technology and cosmology still exist in Greenlandic society. 

It can rightly be called the Greenlandic Sled Dog's Soul. But this knowledge has often not been written down, and now both the sled dog and the highly specialised knowledge are in danger of disappearing. 

That is why a new Danish/Greenlandic interdisciplinary research project has embarked upon a hunt for “The Sled Dogs’s Soul”. 

In close collaboration with the people of Greenland, researchers will chronicle the cultural significance of the sled dog and chart its genetic history.

Photographer Carsten Egevang (topbanner)


The six most important goals of the Qimmeq Project

  1. Collect and research knowledge about the Greenland sled dog, its genetics and culture history
  2. Encourage, create and sustain interest and pride in the sled dogs and the surrounding culture and thus help sustain a viable sled dog culture for the future
  3. Help secure a genetically healthy dog population
  4. Share knowledge and research results, develop communication tools, and disseminate results within the Greenlandic and the arctic community, and globally
  5. Full fill the goals of Greenland Perspective
  6. Be a role model for future research projects beyond the Qimmeq project
  • Mikkel-Holger S. Sinding, Shyam Gopalakrishan, Filipe G. Vieira, Jose A. Samaniego Castruita, Katrine Raundrup, Mads Peter Heide Jørgensen, Morten Meldgaard, Bent Petersen, Thomas Sicheritz-Ponten, Johan Brus Mikkelsen, Ulf Marquard-Petersen, Rune Dietz, Christian Sonne, Love Dalén, Lutz Bachmann, Øystein Wiig, Anders J. Hansen, M. Thomas P. Gilbert. Population genomics of grey wolves and wolf-like canids in North America. PLOS Genetics, November 12, 2018
  • Ní Leathlobhair, M., Perri, A.R., Irving-Pease, E.K., Witt, K.E., Linderholm, A., Haile, J., Lebrasseur, O., Ameen, C., Blick, J., Boyko, A.R., Brace, S., Cortes, Y.N., Crockford, S.J., Devault, A., Dimopoulos, E.A., Eldridge, M., Enk, J., Gopalakrishnan, S., Gori, K., Grimes, V., Guiry, E., Hansen, A.J., Hulme-Beaman, A., Johnson, J., Kitchen, A., Kasparov, A.K., Kwon, Y.-M., Nikolskiy, P.A., Lope, C.P., Manin, A., Martin, T., Meyer, M., Myers, K.N., Omura, M., Rouillard, J.-M., Pavlova, E.Y., Sciulli, P., Sinding, M.-H.S., Strakova, A., Ivanova, V.V., Widga, C., Willerslev, E., Pitulko, V.V., Barnes, I., Gilbert, M.T.P., Dobney, K.M., Malhi, R.S., Murchison, E.P., Larson, G., Frantz, L.A.F., 2018. The evolutionary history of dogs in the Americas. Science 361, 81–85. doi:10.1101/208330
  • Sonne, C., Langebæk, R., Dietz, R., Andersen-Ranberg, E., Houser, G., Hansen, A.J., Sinding, M.-H.S., Olsen, M.T., Egevang, C., Gilbert, M.T.P., Meldgaard, M., 2018. Greenland sled dogs at risk of extinction. Science 360, 1080.1–1080. doi:10.1186/s13028-017-0353-5
  • DNA evidence of bowhead whale exploitation by Greenlandic Paleo-Inuit 4,000 years ago. Seersholm, F. V., Pedersen, M. W., Søe, M. J., Shokry, H., Mak, S., Ruter, A. H., Raghavan, M., Fitzhugh, W., Kjær, K. H., Willerslev, E., Meldgaard, M., Kapel, C. & Hansen, A. J. 2016 In : Nature Communications. 7, 9 p., 13389
  • Aasivissuit - Nipisat: inuit hunting ground between ice and sea. Jensen, J. F., Andreasen, C., Fleischer-Lyberth, P., Løgstrup, L., Poulsen, H. H., Ólafsson, Ó. R., Løventoft-Jessen, A-C., Barr, S. & Meldgaard, M. Jan 2017 Qeqqata Municipality. 192 p.
  • Nomination of Aasivissuit-Nipisat - inuit hunting ground between ice and sea - for inclusion on the World Heritage List: Annex 2: management plan. Poulsen, H. H., Andreasen, C., Fleischer-Lyberth, P., Løgstrup, L., Jensen, J. F., Ólafsson, Ó. R., Løventoft-Jessen, A-C., Meldgaard, M., Barr, S. & Wûrtz Poulsen, K. 2017 Sisimiut: Qeqqata Municipality. 108 p.