Unalaska overlooks Iliuliuk Bay and Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island in the Aleutian Chain. It is 800 air miles from Anchorage. The name Dutch Harbor is often applied to the portion of the city on Amaknak Island, which is connected to Unalaska Island by bridge.
Dutch Harbor is actually within the boundaries of the City of Unalaska. More than 3,000 Unangan lived in 24 settlements on Unalaska and Amaknak Islands in 1759. Unalaska became a Russian trading port for the fur seal industry in 1768. In 1787 many hunters and their families were enslaved and relocated by the Russian American Company to the Pribilof Islands to work in the fur seal harvest. In 1825 the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Ascension of Christ was constructed. By 1830 and 1840, only 200 to 400 Aleuts lived in Unalaska. In 1880 the Methodist church opened a school, clinic, and the Jesse Lee Home for Orphans.
The City of Unalaska was incorporated in March 1942. On June 3, 1942, Unalaska was attacked by the Japanese. Almost all of the Aleuts on the Island were interned to Southeast Alaska for the duration of World War II.
The city of Unalaska, while not an eligible CDQ community, nonetheless plays a vital role in the development of all our community development corporations as it is an economic center, a training and education center and the hub of the Aleutian Island work force.
In the 1960s, commercial crab harvests began in Dutch Harbor; the beginning of a fishing boom that would see the community’s population increase ten-fold, to more than 4,000 people. In the mid 1980’s large processing plants were constructed in Unalaska for the pollock and Pacific cod fisheries.
Unalaska was not deemed to be an eligible CDQ community at the inception of the CDQ program because there was a sustainable fishery-based economy in place in the community. However, because of its Aleut history, Unalaska is an ex officio member of APICDA.
Unalaska is critical to many of APICDA’s residents because of its location. APICDA residents often have to go outside of their community to seek medical treatment and will often travel to Unalaska or Anchorage for medical and other necessary services not available in their community. Because of its ex-officio status, residents of Unalaska are eligible for APICDA’s training and education programs, as well as employment opportunities with APICDA and its subsidiary companies and industry partners.