My friend Helen Hegener posted a link to a blog article on the Mushing Magazine blog that I found very interesting. From there, I clicked on a link to Jeffery Dinsdale's Mushing Past blog. After reading just a couple of articles I subscribed to an RSS feed to the blog, and added it to my list here.
Any serious student of history will find that most of his sources qualify only as tertiary (as opposed to primary) documentation, but the blog is well written and interesting. Most importantly in my mind, is that Mr. Dinsdale DOES cite his sources, making it possible for one to evaluate the evidentiary value of sources and the validity of his suppositions.
I don't necessarily agree with everything he writes. For example, in the Mushing Magazine article he wrote "There were sled dogs already present in this area (prior to the gold rush)….and good ones too. These dogs were the famous Mackenzie River Huskies, a mix of the Eskimo Dog, the Malamute and the “Indian Dog” described in the writings of Samuel Hearne.
Since the Alaskan Malamute wasn't recognized as a 'breed' of sled dog prior to the 1930s, it is impossible to determine whether or not their ancestors contributed to the DNA of Mackenzie River Huskies and it's much more likely that the dogs present in the region were similar to the Hudson's Bay Company dogs observed by Robert Kennicott at Fort Yukon in 1860-61, when he wrote "The original stock has probably been some large, strong dog, and they have become hardier by a very slight intermixture with Indian dogs.... Half geddies (Indian dogs) and quarter geddies are often good dogs"
It's only natural that historians disagree over the interpretation of historical details, and my disagreement with Dinsdale's interpretations does not detract from his work in any way, shape or form and it certainly doesn't invalidate the information he presents.
The historical information contained in the blog seems to focus primarily on dog mushing in the late nineteenth and especially early 20th centuries, considerably later than he time period in which I'm most interested. I'm looking forward to reviewing Mr. Dinsdale's earlier articles and in following his blog. I've no doubt it will be very educational and perhaps somewhat inspirational as well.