St. George is located on the northeast shore of St. George Island, the southern-most of five islands in the Pribilofs. Over 210 species of birds nest on the cliffs of St. George Island. It lies 47 miles south of St. Paul Island, 750 air miles west of Anchorage and 250 miles northwest of Unalaska. The area encompasses 35 sq. miles of land and 27 sq. miles of water.
St. George was discovered in 1786 by Gavrill Pribilof of the Russian Lebedov Lastochkin Company while looking for the famed northern fur seal breeding grounds. The island was named Sveti Georgiy, and its larger neighbor to the north was originally called St. Peter and St. Paul Island. The Russian American Company enslaved Aleut hunters from the Aleutians and relocated them to St. George and St. Paul to harvest the fur seal. Between 1870 and 1910, the U.S. Government leased the Pribilof Islands to private companies, who provided housing, food and medical care to the Aleuts in exchange for work in the fur seal plant. In 1910, the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries took control of the Islands, but poverty conditions ensued due to over-harvesting of the seals.
During World War II, residents were moved to Funter Bay in Southeast Alaska as part of the area wide evacuation. Unlike other Aleutian residents, they were confined in an abandoned cannery and mine camp at Funter Bay. In 1979, the Pribilof Aleuts received $8.5 million in partial compensation for the unfair and unjust treatment they were subjected to under federal administration between 1870 and 1946. In 1983, the U.S. government ended the commercial seal harvest and withdrew from the Islands.
The economic outlook is expected to improve with the addition of a St. George shore-side seafood processing plant in 2007. APICDA has recently obtained EDA grant funds for the creation of a small plant in St. George to commence in 2007, in joint venture with SnoPac Products of Seattle.
The local school currently has 22 children enrolled in grades K-12. There are elders living in St. George along with their children and grandchildren. There is a housing shortage in this community. Fishing is the main source of employment in the community.
St. George locals have had many struggles over the years, but have relied on their faith to get them through. The St. George Russian Orthodox Church is a strong presence in the community.
In 2004, the old fur seal processing plant on St. George was restored and converted into a museum. The museum contains the fur processing equipment and tools of the trade. It is the last standing facility of its type in the world.
APICDA's Infrastructure Investments
-Dredging of Zapadni Bay Harbor
-Construction of a new sub-port facility in partnership with Tanaq Corporation
-Construction of a new outfall
APICDA's Business Development & Investments
-Construction and formation of Puffin Seafoods, L.L.C. in partnership with the St. George Fishermen's Association
-Construction of a shoreside fish handling facility
APICDA's Proposed 2006-2008 Projects
-Construction of lodge beginning in 2008
-Purchase of a passenger cargo vessel to provide inter-island service between St. George and St. Paul in 2008
-Support construction of Central Bering Sea Research Facility
Local Offices, Services & Businesses
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