Holiday time
Northerners give thanks for all we have

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 11/99) - Northerners celebrate Thanksgiving in their own ways and have unique memories of past Thanksgivings, but all celebrate the good fortune to have family and friends.

In Tulita, 67-year-old Jim Lafleur said one thing he will be thankful for this year is the ability to eat a solid meal.

Last year was the fifth year in a row that Jim had a tube in his throat due to cancer, meaning that he was unable to eat.

"I couldn't swallow," the 18-year resident of Tulita said.

"I'll be with my family this year so I'm thankful for that too."

Inuvik elder Emma Dick said she expects about 10 or 12 family members to visit this Thanksgiving weekend for a turkey along with some special vegetable dishes and fresh baked bread and buns.

"We thank God for the moose and the caribou and the fish that we get," she said.

"We thank God everyday."

She said she often gives food to her Anglican Church because she knows there are people who are less well off.

"Last year we had something at church, giving packages of food to other people. That's all part of Thanksgiving," she said.

Some memorable Thanksgivings stretch back to the 1970s when she used to be on the Dempster Highway driving between Tsiigehtchic and Inuvik.

"I was with my husband and we were getting all this food, hunting caribou, moose, ptarmigan and rabbits," she said.

"It was so nice for Thanksgiving."

In Hay River, Northern Store bakery manager, Michele Stephens, said people are starting to order the fancy cup cakes and other goods as well as bread crumbs for stuffing.

Personally, she makes a turkey dinner and invites both family and many friends.

"We usually have lots of extra guests because I keep inviting. I believe everybody deserves a Thanksgiving dinner so I just cook and invite," she said. "In my family when the smell of turkey starts wafting through the house, everybody knows it's Thanksgiving."

One Thanksgiving, she remembers having McDonald's when the family was travelling and the vehicle broke down.

"That was definitely a 'no' vote," she said.

"We were still thankful for having each other but everybody said 'I'd rather be eating turkey.' That's probably the first time that my entire family agreed that McDonald's probably wasn't going to do it."