Meet the People
Maria Turnpaugh, born in 1927, is a speaker of Unangam Tuunu, the Unangam (Aleut) language. She currently resides in Unalaska. Her grandfather was Alexei Yachmanoff, a traditional chief and a warden in the Russian Orthodox church. Ms. Turnpaugh learned to speak Unangan from her mother, who was also fluent in English and Russian. She learned basket-making from renowned weaver Anasia Hodikoff. She and her family were forced to evacuate Unalaska Island after it was bombed by the Japanese in 1942, returning in 1945 from an internment camp in Southeast Alaska.