Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
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Next Generation Of Unangax̂ Reflect On Family Members’ Internment During World War II

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Laura Kraegel/KUCB
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Seventy-five years ago, almost 900 Unangax̂ people were removed from their homes by the U.S. government and relocated to southeast Alaska.

Officials said they were trying to protect Native communities from the Japanese during World War II. But the Unangax̂ were forced to live in crowded camps with little access to food, water, or medical attention.

This week, we heard from Unalaskan descendants of the evacuees about what that difficult history means to them.

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Credit Laura Kraegel/KUCB
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Janice Krukoff's parents were evacuated from Nikolski and St. George Island.

Janice Krukoff

"My father Sergie Krukoff is from Nikolski, and my late mother Mariamna Merculief was from St. George Island of the Pribilofs. There are times I almost feel blessed that both of my parents were evacuees. I know that's strange to say, but I am very proud of my parents. They survived."

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Credit Laura Kraegel/KUCB
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Ariel Hernandez's grandparents were evacuated from Kashega and Makushin.

Ariel Hernandez

"I'm Aleut and white, but I would have been evacuated. If we were alive back then, it would have meant that me, my mom, and both of my brothers would have had to leave, but my dad would have had to stay. How crazy is that? That they could tear apart mixed families?"

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Credit Courtesy of Sandra Moller
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Sandra Moller's parents were evacuated from Unalaska. She's pictured here with Harriet Hope and Kathy Grimnes, both evacuees and friends of her late mother's.

Sandra Moller

"I think it's really taught me to be kind to people and to try to hear them. I think that's what my parents and family did. They had to figure out how to best survive. So I think it teaches me that you're going to be facing all of these different obstacles, but you've got to be resilient and figure out a way to solve it."

 

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