Aleut Churches in WWII
By Barbara Sweetland Smith with Patricia J. Petrivelli
A Sure Foundation, Aleut Churches in World War II, by Barbara Sweetland Smith with Patricia J. Petrivelli, ©Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Association, Inc., Anchorage, AK 1994.
A sure Foundation is the final product of a st6udy of the experiences in ten Aleut churches during World War II. The Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Inc., a not for profit organization, a instructed by Congress in 1988 to examine the present condition and historical experience of churches in the ten Aleut villages which were evacuated in 1942, while the Aleut residents were relocated to Southeast Alaska for the duration of the War. The results of the two-year project, including estimates for repair and restoration, were complied in a report, Making It Right: Restitution for Churches Damaged and Lost During the Aleut Relocation in World War II, which was submitted to Congress and the Secretary of Interior. The findings of this report served as the basis for proposals to amend the Aleut Restitution Act (P.L. 100-383) and a campaign to raise the funds necessary to restore these historic structures. While Congress in 1988 had authorized $1.4 million for restitution to the churches, the report made a conservative estimate of $3.973 million as the actual amount needed to repair and restore both buildings and furnishings.
In addition to its technical finings, the report compiled the first histories of many of the Aleut churches and provided a first glimpse of many historic photographs. The present volume brings these histories to the public for the first time, including the tragic experiences of World War II and the innovative ways in which the communities sought to protect their priceless religious heritage.
The Church Restitution Project of the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association was directed by Barbara Sweetland Smith, the assistance of Patricia J. Petrivelli.
I would like to give special thanks to Barbara Sweetland Smith for her untiring and dedicated efforts in bringing this much-needed history together in this book.