A Christmas feast in the NANA region

As the Christmas holiday draws near, shareholders are preparing their shopping lists for Christmas feasts. Some of the traditional Iñupiaq food gathered from the land in the region include muktuk, black meat, seal oil, caribou, trout, and berries. Shareholders in Northwest Alaska also eat the usual turkey, ham or prime rib meals and a variety of side dishes as well like potato salad, macaroni salad, deviled eggs, corn on the cob, yams, and stuffing.

Berries picked from the tundra in the summer are incorporated in desserts. Qayusaak (cranberry pudding) is a well-known dish made by heating cranberries, water, starch and sugar. Other berry desserts include aqpik (salmonberry) and blueberry pie, and the regional favorite, akutuq (Eskimo ice cream), made from caribou fat, berries and, in some parts of the region, fish.

Each community in the region holds a Christmas potluck that takes place either Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or the day after Christmas. Food to share is prepared by members of the community for a potluck held at the local church. Foods like caribou and trout soup, Eskimo salad, doughnuts, Sailor Boy crackers, quaq (raw frozen food), paniqtaq (dried meat or fish) and seal oil are shared along with the holiday cheer.