St. Paul Island is one of the five Pribilof Islands is located in the middle of the Bering Sea, 300 miles from the Alaska mainland; 800 miles from Anchorage, the closest urban center; and 300 miles north of the Aleutian Chain. It is one of two inhabited islands in the Pribilof Islands. Its total land and water area is 295 square miles and the island’s land area is 40.32 square miles.
The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island is a community in transition, adjusting to the cultural shock waves of Euro-American contact and governance. Beginning with enslavement by the Czar of Russia’s fur companies, through the 1867 Treaty of Cession to the United States of America with Marshall law and forced labor, the Unangan, or Aleut, people of St. Paul are on the front line of contact and efforts toward natural resources conquest. While the families relocated to St. Paul are strong people, generation-after-generation has been exposed to cultural, physical, and psychological trauma in the form of slavery, World War II Internment Camps, Native boarding schools away from home and family; corporal punishment for speaking in the Native language; epidemics of disease filling the Island’s cemetery; proselytization and condemnation of traditional spiritual practices; and overabundant interaction with the non-Native child welfare, justice, and corrections systems. Through this turbulent history, the Aleut people have maintained dignity and pride and have remained culturally resilient. The people of the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island are survivors.
‘Aleut Community of St. Paul Island’ is a title by which the federal government of the United States formally recognizes ‘the tribe,’ which is the group of people of the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, as having a time-honored common bond of living together; a nation born, living, and self-governing before the United States was conceived.
The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government is a governmental venue through which the Unangan of St. Paul Island can fulfill their intrinsic rights and responsibilities, and support, recollect, practice, and pass on their culture. The Aleut Government of St. Paul Island Tribal Government promotes, maintains, and protects cultural practices, awareness, preservation, self-governance, and self-determination for the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island. The Tribal Government does much in its power to provide for the well-being of the community; continuously thinking outside the box in a challenging strive towards developing and keeping expertise and services that contribute to social and economic security and presence on the home island.