(too-loo-gak): Inuktitut (the language of Inuit) word meaning raven

Debbie and Bill McConkey

Ottawa (former Iqaluit residents)


A pink flamingo had blown into our yard in the summer. We nailed it on the back porch. The ravens started to come and visit it. We were living in co-op housing in Iqaluit. The co-ops have those big back porches with the metal grating on the floor. By this time it was winter and very, very cold. I was getting up very early to prepare my lesson plans, about 5:30 a.m. in the morning. I was still in my bare feet and it was a long walk from the front of the co-op to the back door, across that cold grating in bare feet. The doorbell rang and I thought I better go and answer it. I got there and nobody was there. It made me grumpy and it really made me mad so I had to go all the way back. I started working again and the doorbell rings again. That would happen about three times a morning and I would faithfully go to the door every time. This went on for about seven days and I was really starting to get ticked off. I couldn’t figure out what was going on and I began to think, am I really hearing the doorbell. Then I decided I was going to sneak out the front and I was prepared. I had my coat and my boots and when the doorbell went, I snuck out the front. There was a raven sitting there happily pecking on the doorbell. The doorbells are right there. It could just sit there and reach over and ring it from the porch railing, right next to the flamingo. We don’t know what made it stop, but they destroyed the doorbell. We think they were getting a shock from it, or they just weren’t getting in. The ravens started to come and visit it. It looked like they were trying to make friends with it. They would sit really close to it and talk to it. It was really neat and they weren’t mean to it. It was like they were trying to make friends with it.


What we used to do is throw the leftovers out that same door and there was a dog next door the ravens used to trick out of his food. Two or three would keep him busy and one would go eat and then they’d trade places. There was always a fair amount of food coming out the door and that’s part of what attracted them in the first place. You know what it’s like in the middle of winter – it’s colder than hell. The floors are really cold and Debbie would get out of bed and come back and say those Damn kinds. Just fuming. We couldn’t believe it when it turned out to be a raven doing it.