Inuit Sled Dogs – What Really Happened?

When I made The Last Dogs of Winter back in 2012, I had to make a difficult judgement call about whether or not to repeat the assertion that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police slaughtered Inuit dogs in a deliberate genocidal programme.

Personally, I doubted this was the case, though I have no doubts that many thousands of dogs were shot.

My conviction is that these killings were part of a sad historical process, an inevitable outcome of cultural and economic changes that overtook the North from the middle of the 20th century.

Here’s an interesting recent article on the topic:

The Last Dogs of Winter has been available on DVD from my web store at for some time. Many thanks to all who have supported this title.

I have now made it available for online rental and downloads from

Go here:

In order to access you have to sign up for a vimeo account, but it’s easy, fast, and free. And it enables access to a convenient download service that’s ethical and respectful of creators rights. The small sums we ask for go towards making a small creative business viable. Please respect this and avoid pirate and freeloading sites that destroy livelihoods.

If the link above takes you just to a trailer, then try googling this instead: Last Dogs of Winter Vimeo On Demand.


About Costa Botes

I'm a freelance film maker based in Wellington, New Zealand. I make mainly long form independent documentaries about characters I find interesting.
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2 Responses to Inuit Sled Dogs – What Really Happened?

  1. write2dream says:

    The report is even more disturbing than what I originally was told. They did the same thing to the Metis, killed off their dogs because likewise dogs were part of their culture and work. Why do the police/RCMP pick on defenseless animals to make a point or control a people? I find the whole thing disgusting. I interviewed Brian in Churchill in 2011 and he was fighting to keep the breed alive. Barb Rees

    • Costa Botes says:

      I don’t think its that simple, as underlined by the article. There’s no doubt the culture of indigenous peoples across the arctic suffered sustained attack on many fronts. The decimation of Inuit dog populations was just one symptom, but I don’t believe this was due to any official policy by the RCMP. Lone passionate individuals like Bill Carpenter and Brian Ladoon have struggled and fought to keep the breed going in Canada, with some success. My understanding is that contemporary efforts by Inuit to reintegrate the dogs and traditional practices back into daily life offer the best chance of preserving these magnificent and unique animals.

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