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Begich Introduces Aleut Relocation Study Act of 2014

Bill Studies Relocation Sites in Southeast Alaska for Inclusion in National Parks

U.S. Senator Mark Begich introduced the Aleut Confinement and Relocation Sites Study Act, a bill that would authorize the National Parks Service (NPS) to determine the feasibility of adding sites associated with the forced relocation and confinement of the Aleut people during World War II as part of the National Parks system. 

“For too long, this dark period in our nation’s history has been swept under the rug,” said Begich. “It is long past time that we honor the legacy of those brave Alaska Natives who were taken away from their ancestral homelands and way of life. This bill will help make certain we don’t forget our history and learn from those mistakes.”

The five Southeast Alaska relocation sites are at Funter Bay, Burnett Inlet, Killisnoo, Ward Lake and the Wrangell Institute.  An estimated 75 Aleut villagers died of illness during two years of internment at these locations.

This legislation, introduced Thursday, does not authorize the acquisition of any lands by the NPS.  Any sites acquired in the future could only be purchased from willing sellers.

The legislation has the support of the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association (AIPA).

“The Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association supports efforts for the conservation and management of the WWII Aleut Internment Sites,” said APIA President and CEO Dimitri Philemonof. “Sharing this significant story distinguishes the sacrifices made for our Nation’s defense during the struggle of war.”    

For more on the history of the tragic evacuation and internment of Native Alaskans from the Aleutian Islands visit the National Park Service website. For more information on Begich’s work on Alaska Native issues please visit his Senate website.

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