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Big bucks for a bird

Tara Kearsey
Northern News Services

Iglulik (Oct 07/02) - A traditional Thanksgiving dinner comes with a hefty price tag in Nunavut, but turkey is still the highlight of the feast.

In Iglulik, Millie Kuliktana said she is not looking forward to forking out at least $50 for a decent-sized turkey this year, but refuses to do without.

"Back home in Kugluktuk my father always saved trumpeter swans in the freezer for Thanksgiving.

"But since we're in Iglulik we're not going to eat my dad's Thanksgiving swan, so we're going to eat turkey instead," she laughed.

Kuliktana said the swans are quite delicious and she will miss them. But she is looking forward to feasting on over-priced turkey, which cannot be afforded many times during the year.

Some Iglulik residents instead feast on traditional Inuit country food at Thanksgiving, especially caribou and muqtaq which are readily available due to successful hunts. In Gjoa Haven, Louie Kamookak said turkey is a Thanksgiving family favourite as well, even though the price ranges between $35 and $60 for the bird alone.

"We always have turkey and sometimes we throw in some caribou meat and fish. It's almost like Christmas," he said.

Kamookak's wife stocks up on homemade bannock, and raisin and apple pie are usually found on the table as well.

"We get together with my parents and her parents and sisters and brothers. We have a big family ... so there is usually lots of food," he said.

Kuliktana is also looking forward to a dessert of pumpkin pie, and two of her eldest children, ages 12 and 14, make an angel food cake every Thanksgiving.

"We take turns in the kitchen. They make the desserts but I'm usually the one that makes the mess," she said.

And if any of her family and friends cannot afford to have their own Thanksgiving dinner, Kuliktana said, "We always open the door and cook extra for extra people."