For the first time ethnonym “Aleut” was mentioned in the documents of 1747, as a name of the ethnic group given by Russians after their exploration of the Aleutian Islands. There are also other interpretations of this ethnonym: aliut (алиут) as an islander (Chuk.), Alyaguk (алягук) as “the sea” (Aleut), alyav, elev (аляв, элев) – “to tie round”, “to wrap around” (Chuk., Kor.), allitkhukh (аллитхух) – “community”, “brigade”, “army”, “team”.
In Russia Aleuts live on the Commander (Komandorskie) Islands (Medniy and Bering Islands). In 1928 the Commander Islands were included in the Aleutian National District which later joined Kamchatka Province. In the middle 1930s the national district was liquidated and reconstructed only recently. In Nikolskoe village situated on Bering Island, in the only place of the Aleuts community in Russia, 279 Aleuts lived there in 1990, on Medniy (Copper) Island - 253 Aleuts.
The Aleutian language had been taught for already 50 years before Alaska and the Aleutian Islands were included in the jurisdiction of the USA. The majority of Aleuts were bilingual having a command of both Aleutian and Russian. After the transfer of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands to the USA “Americanization” of indigenous population was launched. The Aleutian language was no longer taught and 60 years later the system of American federal schools with English as the only language of instruction was spread.
On the Commander (Komandorskie) Islands, Russia since the 1980s the attempts to establish teaching the Aleutian language as an elective course are being taken with the help of teachers’ manuals written by E.V. Golovko, N.B. Vahktin and A.S. Asinovskiy and dictionaries complied by E.V. Golovko.