MARCH 7, 2000


The 21st Legislature of the State of Alaska recognized Anfesia Shapsnikoff as an “Aleut Tradition Bearer” who “…served as nurse, church reader, teacher and community leader nearly all her life…who contributed history and well being for all Alaskans.”  Born in 1900 in Atka, Alaska, her mother moved with her and brother to Unalaska in 1905.  Anfesia became the unofficial leader of the community largely due to her having learned to read and write English, Uanagan, and Russian.  An ordained reader in the Russian Orthodox Church, she conducted services when a priest was absent.  In 1942, in defiance of U.S. military orders, Anfesia and the church committee brought the icons of Unalaska’s Church of the Holy Ascension south to Burnett Inlet where the Aleut were interred.  An accomplished Attu basket weaver who taught classes for the Kodiak Historical Society, she helped preserve Aleut culture and language.  Anfesia died January 15, 1973, in Unalaska.

Source:  “Aleutian Voices – Forced to Leave,” National Park Service.  Retrieved 6/10/2019,
Photo:  National Park Service, date unknown.  Cropped.  Public domain.  Photograph taken by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.

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