On January 31st, shoppers in Northern Canada and rural Alaska boycotted North West Company and their Alaskan branch, Alaska Commercial Store (AC Store). Their reasoning for protest was groceries being marked up 300-500% higher than prices in urban centers. It’s hard to fathom how large this price difference really is. Many people have been posting photos of groceries at these stores on a Facebook group called Feeding My Family (https://www.facebook.com/groups/239422122837039/).

Costs nearly $20 in Northern Canada, whereas, you can find it in an urban center for less than $3.00

Costs nearly $20 in Northern Canada, whereas, you can find it in an urban center for less than $3.00

Cost of a bag of groceries in my hometown, Kotzebue, Alaska.

Cost of a bag of groceries in my hometown, Kotzebue, Alaska.

Even though many people protested these stores, there were still a lot of people who did shop at North West Commercial and Alaska Commercial though because there are literally no other stores to shop at. The only other source of food is subsistence hunting. This is still costly though because the gas you need to run your snow machine costs at least 8.00/per gallon. Also to go hunting means you must take a day off of work to go hunting, meaning a day lost of wages to pay for groceries.

I am very passionate about this subject because it affects me and my family directly. My families solution to these high cost might almost seem counter intuitive. Every time we go to the city, we bring coolers with us. Alaska Airlines allows Alaskan residents to take 3 bags, so my family of 6 would take 18 bags every time we traveled by jet. We filled these coolers/bags with dry food and meat, which we then put in our pantry and freezer. This was very embarrassing to me as a kid, but now as an adult I understand why it was necessary. Many people do not have this ability though which is why these boycotts are especially important.

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