Remembering Dorothy Knee Jones (1923-2015), a friend, a valued American, an advocate for civil and social rights, author (A Century of Servitude: Pribilof Aleuts Under U.S. Rule and Tatiana), and Aleut Story contributor. Her legacy is one of better lives.
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. An estimated 10 percent of the men, women and children sent to the camps would die there—a death rate comparable to that suffered by Americans in foreign prisoner of war camps. As the Aleuts prayed for deliverance, “friendly forces” looted their homes and churches in the Aleutian and Pribilof islands.
Those who survived would fight for their rights—in the nation’s courts and on Capitol Hill. In a historic action—one that continues to influence our lives and our nation’s ideals—Aleuts joined Japanese Americans in seeking wartime reparations from the federal government.
Aleut Americans ultimately prevailed.
Richly textured with all the elements of great human drama—war, suffering, sacrifice, faith, self-discovery and renewal—Aleut Story is a poignant and timely film about the least known chapters of the American civil rights experience.
Filmed on location in Alaska and Washington, DC on 35mm and S16mm, Aleut Story moves viewers through a distant landscape with mesmerizing cinematography, presents rare archival images and contemporary interviews. Narrated by Emmy® winner Martin Sheen, historical readings by John O’Hurley, vocals and flute by Grammy® winner Mary Youngblood.