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(əlo͞ot`, ăl`ēo͞ot'), native inhabitant of the Aleutian Islands and W Alaska. Like the EskimoEskimo
, a general term used to refer to a number of groups inhabiting the coastline from the Bering Sea to Greenland and the Chukchi Peninsula in NE Siberia. A number of distinct groups, based on differences in patterns of resource exploitation, are commonly identified,
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, the Aleuts are racially similar to Siberian peoples. Their language is a member of the Eskimo-AleutEskimo-Aleut,
family of Native American languages consisting of Aleut (spoken on the Aleutian Islands and the Kodiak Peninsula) and Eskimo or Inuktitut (spoken in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Siberia).
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 family. When they were first noted by Vitus Jonassen Bering in 1741, their estimated population was between 20,000 and 25,000. Because of their skill in hunting sea mammals, the Aleuts were exploited by Russian fur traders throughout the coastal waters of the Gulf of Alaska, sometimes as far south as California. The ruthless policies of the traders and conflict with the fierce mainland natives reduced their population by the end of the 18th cent. to one tenth its former size. However, by 1990 their numbers had increased to almost 24,000 in the United States. They continue to live in relative isolation; most are members of the Russian Orthodox Church.


See V. I. Jochelson, The History, Ethnology and Anthropology of the Aleut (1933, repr. 1966); R. Ackerman, Ethnohistory in Southwestern Alaska and the Southern Yukon (1970); W. S. Laughlin, Aleuts (1981).

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References in periodicals archive ?
"Wisdom Keeper: One Man's Journey to Honor the Untold History of the Unangan People" is an inherently fascinating and deeply personal account that is exceptionally well written, organized and presented.
Fish and game were found in all the cultures, but protein sources varied from domesticated cattle among the Egyptians to an almost entirely marine diet among the Unangans. Ancient Peruvians would have had a diet rich in corn, potato, sweet potato, manioc, peanuts, beans, bananas and hot pepper.
Probable or definite atherosclerosis was noted in 47 (34%) of 137 mummies and in all four geographical populations: 29 (38%) of 76 ancient Egyptians, 13 (25%) of 51 ancient Peruvians, 2 (40%) of 5 Ancestral Puebloans, and 3 (60%) of 5 Unangan hunter-gatherers (p=NS).
Today, the Aleutian Islands have a diverse population that includes Unangans, as well as a significant number of Asians, Hispanics and Norwegians.
The new Museum of the Aleutians in Unalaska will illustrate the 9000 year history of the Aleuts (Unangan), including the wartime evacuation period in Southeast Alaska.
Last October, the old bridge was dedicated as "Agaadaa," meaning "other side" in Unangan Tunuu.
When he became the leader of the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association (APIA), he developed a management team that has worked hard to find programs to make life better in the Unangan communities.
The camp is designed to bring Unangan elders, mentors and Western science biologists together with the younger generation in order to teach traditional subsistence and cultural practices.
offers tours through archeological sites (from the ancient Unangan culture) that are 5,000 or more years old.