3 Previous | Next 4


The time has come to reclaim our name for ourselves. The word we now make known again is “Unanga{Unanga means “seasiders” if you break it down in the language. [see p. 444, Unangam Tunudgusii/Aleut Dictionary compiled by Knut Bergsland and published through the Alaska Native Language Center @ UAF.] When outsiders came to these islands they got the mistaken idea that we should all be called Aleuts. Our Elders tell us that their Elders told them that we call ourselves Unanga{. There are other words used in some places, but we Native people from all the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands use this word. We are grateful that they saved this knowledge and shared it with us. To honor our ancestors and “teach our children well” we take back our name in place of “Aleut” whenever possible. We might forget sometimes and it might feel awkward but we will all get used to it. When we describe ourselves as Unanga{ we feel strong, proud and truly know who we are. We invite you to join us and act on it daily.

To use this word right you will need to learn the following slight changes for specific situations:

1. Unanga{ (oo NUNG ah) = 1 of the people who call themselves Seasiders.

Example: Emil is Unanga{ or Emil is an Unanga{.

Can also mean: the group of people who call themselves Seasiders

Example: The Unanga{ are famous for their seafaring skills.

2. Unangax (oo NUNG eh) = 2 of the people who call themselves Seasiders.

Example: The Unangax, Pat and Laresa, went berry picking.

3. Unangan (oo NUNG an) = 3 or more of the people who call themselves

Seasiders in all dialects except Atkan.

Example: In False Pass, Sand Point and Unalaska, the plural of Unanga{ is Unangan.


What Does the Color Coding Mean?


None (no colors) for one.
Example: I am an Unanga{.


Blue for two.
Example: The Unangax of whom we speak are Sally and Crystal.


Green for Eastern (Qawalangin, etc.) and Attuan (Sasignan).
Example: Moses, Iliodor and Barbara are Unangan.


Red for Western (Nii}u{).
Example: Those three handsome people are Unangas.


Purple for possessive.
Unangam Ungiikangin (Eastern)/Unangam Ungiikangis (Western), in the title of a popular text, means ‘the old stories that belong to the Unangan/Unangas.’


4. Unangas (oo NUNG us) = 3 or more of the people who call themselves

Seasiders in Atkan.

Example: In At{a{, the plural of Unanga{ is Unangas.

5. Unangam (oo NUNG am) = the word showing something belongs to us.

Unangam must be followed by the word related to its possession and cannot be used alone as the rest of the above may be used.

Example: Unangam Tunuu means Unangam Language. Not : They are Unangam.

Note: Unangan and Unangas mean the same thing; they just have different endings.

If this is new to you, use just the word Unanga{ at first. If you do not know what tribe some people are from and you see them holding their baby, you might say, “What a beautiful Unanga{ !” and be absolutely correct.



3 Previous | Next 47 Return to Table of Contents