ST. PAUL, Alaska (AP) — A U.S. official has apologized for the World War II internment of Alaska’s Unangan people.
Jim Kurth, acting director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, traveled last week to remote St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea to speak with survivors of the internment and their descendants, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported.
“As much as we wish, we cannot take back the course of history,’’ Kurth said. “But what we can do now is heal together. We can work together.’’
Fish and Wildlife agents oversaw the internment of the people of Alaska’s Pribilof Islands after the Japanese in 1942 bombed Dutch Harbor on the Aleutian island of Unalaska in 1942, where the U.S. had established World War II military bases.
About 900 Alaska Natives were taken from the Aleutian and Pribilof islands for internment. Many died of illness or starvation.
St. Paul Island, population about 480, is one of the four Pribilof islands and lies about 200 miles north of Unalaska.