Alaska natives of the Aleutian Islands. Aleuts who lived in Unalaska on the Bering Sea. A book for children.
By some estimates there were up to 20,000 Unangan living on the Aleutian Islands prior to the arrival of Russian fur traders. The Russians came looking for otter fur and found a people who possessed the skill to hunt this elusive animal. The Unangan were forced at gunpoint to hunt the otter and the Unangan culture was in a state of chaos. Since that time, the Unangan population plummeted like the otter itself.
The Russians called the people Aleuts, but today, the people want to be called Unangan after the first people to arrive on the islands thousands of years ago. The Unangan had a rich culture and the people today strive to honor their achievement. There is a museum in Unalaska and cultural camps held each year to learn about traditional crafts such as drying salmon, weaving and wood carving. In this way the heritage of the Unangan people can be studied and appreciated.