Thanksgiving Comes Costly in the Villages


Marina Cummiskey/KMXT

Gathering ingredients for a Thanksgiving feast may seem simple to folks living along Kodiak’s road system – simply go to the grocery store. But things are not quite as easy if you’re living in Karluk, a village on the west side of Kodiak with less than 50 people. KMXT’s news intern, Marina Cummiskey, recently returned from Karluk and found out what Thanksgiving preparation is like in a remote community.
Karluk has no local store, and all of the residents’ groceries have to be ordered from shops in Kodiak, and then flown in by small planes. This way of getting groceries proves to be more complicated, and a little more expensive around the holidays.
“The dried goods we have mailed out, so it’s just postal rates, but anything that’s cold or frozen we have to get shipped out at 90, I think it’s 92 cents a pound.”
That’s Russ Scotter, a teacher at the Karluk School, who’s been living there for seven years. Scotter celebrates Thanksgiving, and his traditional dinner includes a turkey, albeit an expensive one.

“We have to put in order in, to Safeway, and then they have to fly it out, and because it’s a frozen turkey, usually, it comes on the plane, and then we pay 90 some cents a pound, just to get it out here.”
Ronnie Lind, a long time Karluk resident, also celebrates thanksgiving with his family.
“So you get a turkey and I understand you have to order it from Safeway and fly it here? Yes? So if you don’t mind me asking, how much is the cost of flying it here do you know? Hoo, hoo, the cost of the turkey is probably the price that everybody pays for it in Kodiak and then we most likely, um, it’s no less than a total freight cost, it’s probably more than $100.”
Other villages on Kodiak also get turkeys sent out for Thanksgiving. April Carlough, the assistant manager at Island Air, said there are more flights for people going to visit their families for the holiday, and she sees a rise in grocery orders around this time of year. Carlough also said because the turkeys that are ordered are frozen, the shipping prices would be a little higher than regular prices.
“It just depends you know. If it was just one turkey, then it would be, like 24 dollars, to any one of the villages.” Kodiak Area Native Association, or KANA, used to run a program to send turkeys out to the village elders during Thanksgiving, and Island Air brought them out. The program is not running this year, but a KANA spokesperson said that they hope to bring it back in the future.

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