Traditional Foods Program
The goal of the Traditional Foods Program is to promote the use of traditional foods as part of a healthy diet and for overall well-being.
The Unangan (E)/ Unangas (A) historically depended on foods from the sea; seal, sea lion, whale, fish and tidal foods provided the majority of nutrients in the diet. Birds, plants, caribou, and later reindeer in some communities, were also important sources of food. All of these foods continue to be used today and are supplemented with store-bought foods.
Traditional foods must be celebrated. Traditional foods, harvested from the land and sea, are an essential part of our lives and culture and have been for thousands of years. Many traditional values are expressed through the harvesting and preparation of local food: the importance of sharing, respect for elders, helping and taking care of others, not being greedy, and taking care of the land, air and water, to name a few.
Traditional foods provide nutritional, health, sociocultural, spiritual, and economic benefits to individuals and communities of the Aleutian and Pribilof islands. The harvesting, preservation and preparation of traditional foods have been a vital part of Unangan (E)/ Unangas (A) life from time immemorial.
In this Section
Reports summarizing the findings from a research project looking at the benefits and risks of traditional foods in the Aleutian and Pribilof islands can be found here. These reports were developed for the communities of Atka and St. Paul as part of a National Institute of Health grant from 2001-2006.