In The Community


Our neighborhood is a vast stretch of Alaskan coastline, shared by neighbors in many communities.

Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center in Homer

Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge's headquarters at Islands & Ocean is open year-round to the public and is the crossroads of conservation and education for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and our partners. For a list of upcoming events visit our Events calendar


Our Neighbors
Unangax / Aleut
Sugpiaq / Alutiq

and all the "newcomers" who have arrived since 1745!

The Sea and the Land Provide
More than 11,000 years ago, the ancestors of today's Native people came to settle along Alaska's coast by this "sea of plenty".

High-Rise Grocery
For the first people, the wilderness provided a bounty of fresh delicacies and useful materials. In the long days of summer, freshly laid gull and murre eggs were gathered by young boys scaling cliffs. Birds were hunted by the Inupiat people of northern Alaska using bola and nets. The skins of 40 tufted puffins, or 25 cormorants, were stitched together by the Unangax people of the Aleutian Islands to make a single elaborate, full-length, reversible parka.

Moving with the Resources
Native peoples traveled from place to place in search of food resources, taking advantage of seasonal abundance. They located their camps and villages near cliffs, bays, reefs, and islets where they would have the greatest access to marine foods and materials for shelter and clothing.

Knowledge Passed Down
With skills, physical endurance, and traditional knowledge passed down through many generations, Native peoples were able to prosper when wildlife was plentiful and to survive through leaner times. Each animal was important to them.

Before "Newcomers"
Before contact with "newcomers" in the 1700s, the rich flora and fauna of the Aleutian Islands supported between 15,000 and 25,000 Unangax/Aleut people. They built villages along the seacoasts and developed intricate societies supported by the abundant marine mammals, fish, seabirds, marine invertebrates, and seaweed. Evidence of these ancient villages still exists on nearly every island. Today Unangax communities are found on Atka, Adak, Umnak, Unalaska, Akutan, and Unimak islands in the Aleutians, and St. George and St. Paul islands in the Pribilofs.