Photo: “Russian Christmas Star,” Alaska State Library, Bunnell Collection, UAF – 1973-66-50
The Aleut and Alutiiq peoples are from south and southwest Alaska—maritime peoples . The water is their living, whether the creeks and rivers near villages, the shore outside, or the vast waters of the North Pacific and Bering Sea. Knowledge of these resources and skill in harvesting them define the cycle of life in a village. The intensity of the weather that travels through the islands governs activities more than any other factor.
The Aleut and Alutiiq cultures were heavily influenced by the Russian occupation, beginning in the 18th century. The Orthodox Church is prominent in every village; Russian dishes are made using local subsistence food, and Russian words are part of the common vocabulary.