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Stretching like a rocky necklace from Asian to North America, the Aleutian Islands and the nearby Alaska Peninsula are the home of the Aleuts.The term "Aleut" was introduced by Russians and comes originally from the Koryak or Chukchi languages of Siberia; it appears to have been quickly adopted by the Aleut people themselves. The Aleut, are known as Unangan or Unangas in their language, which translates as “we the people.”Aleut homelands include the Aleutian Islands, the Pribilof Islands, the Shumagin Islands, and the far western part of the Alaska Peninsula.The natural marine environment defines subsistence lifestyles and cultures that date back more than 8,000 years ago.The Aleuts and the Alutiiq differ in language and culture but a commonality was created from the first contact with the Russians in the 18th century that is evident today.The National Institute of Justice recently released a study analyzing data collected in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Partner Survey.The study found that more than four in five American Indian and Alaska Native women had experienced violence in their lifetime, and one in three had experienced violence within the past year. Village locations on necks between two bays were preferred, as such locations provided at least one protected landing for any given wind direction and served as an escape route in the event of enemy attack.A good supply of fresh water nearby was a necessity, as a good salmon stream was indispensable; other considerations were availability of driftwood and access to stone materials suitable for tool- and weapon-making and mineral paints, sea mammal hauling grounds, and an elevated lookout post from which one could watch for enemies and whales.
The extent of domestic violence in tribal communities is particularly overwhelming.
They are our healers, caretakers, protectors, warriors, and leaders.
However, for generations, American Indians and Alaska Natives have struggled against and from under the effects of colonization, inadequate resources, marginalization, termination and assimilation, and a lack of acknowledgment of the role that history has played in our continued hurt.
Equally important is acknowledging the existence of Native women as the backbone of our families and tribal communities.
Our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and daughters play a major role in maintaining our culture and protecting our families.