Aleut Story (2005)
Aleut Story (2005)
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Profound documentary that proves the rule, what a country does to the least of its people can do to the rest of us.
Shocking that even in the racist, early days of WWII, these poor, defenseless Alaskan natives were told they had to leave for their own protection.
SEE a short introduction to the film in this trailer:
They understood that much and they weren't stupid, or as stupid as the Interior Department liked to believe. Japanese fighter planes could be heard by the natives flying overhead. The Japanese military wanted to occupy the islands of Alaska as a cover for their real intent of attacking Midway islands in the Pacific.
The native Aleuts blacked out their lamps, but they could only be pawns in a world struggle that profoundly effected their lives and caused the deaths of ten percent of them, a death rate similar to American prisoners of war at the time.
Moved 1500 miles away from their native towns, they were herded as cattle on overloaded troop carriers to locations closer to the states but still in Alaska. The living conditions were more like death sentences for many of them.
Given absolutely no spokesperson or vote as to their plight, the Aleut learned that they were being treated less humanely than German prisoners of war housed in the U.S.
Further, on return years later, their towns were burned to the ground or looted, furniture burned, churchs pilaged.
While glad to go back home, and some were not allowed to go back home, their towns were mere fragments to go back to.
Just a real tradgedy, you will hear first person accounts of the internment in camps of filth, disease, deprevation.
Martin Sheen ... Narrator (voice)
Director: Marla Williams *
Writer: Marla Williams
Aleutian Pribilof Heritage Group, SprocketHeads
1 From isolated internment camps in Southeast Alaska to Congress and the White House, this is the incredible, untold story of Aleut Americans' decades-long struggle for human and civil rights. In 1942, as World War II invaded Alaska, Aleut Americans were taken from their homes and removed to abysmal government camps 1,500 miles away. Death was ever-present in the camps.
2 Many historical films merely echo the past. But Aleut Story presents a living history, told by Aleut American evacuees and internment survivors themselves. It is their stories, their voices, that resonate across time and distance. Their unflinching accounts lending an inexpressible eloquence to the film.
3 Misinformation. Panic. Upheaval. The evacuation of Aleut Americans from their homes in the Aleutian and Pribilof islands began in a fog of confusion extending from the Territory of Alaska to Washington, D.C. Political infighting, paternalism and racism made an already difficult situation dangerous, even deadly, for the evacuees.
4 It's disgusting how the US treated the Nazi POWs better than the Aleut.
Some of the survivors, now in old age, return to the camps.
1 * For a good website about the film from the director see:
2 A letter describing the deplorable conditions at the camp:
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