Aquilina d. lestenkof

Aquilina D. Lestenkof is the co-director of the Ecosystem Conservation Office of the Tribal Government, located on Alaska’s island, St. Paul, the same island on which she was born in 1960.

She attended the University of Alaska and participated in several media specialist courses. Aquilina is very passionate about her native people, the Aleut, and dedicates her life to educating younger generations about environmental conservation. In particular, she teaches about the conservation of the northern fur seal.  

In 2009, Aquilina was featured in a documentary film called “People of the Seal,” which explores the connection between the northern fur seal and the Unangan natives of the Pribilof and Aleutian islands of Alaska. In her fight for conserving the northern fur seal, she gathers garbage that washes up on the Pribilof islands’ shores. In one night alone, she gathered around 400 pounds of garbage on the coastline. This led her to motivate the community to participate in cleaning up the beaches. Each year, a beach cleaning is held in which volunteers and others come out to collect plastic and garbage.

Aquilina is a recipient of the Eva Haller Award for Humanity. 


Born: 1960

Hometown: St. George Island, Pribilof Islands, AK

Education: Media specialist courses, University of Alaska

Occupation: Director of Office of Cultural Affairs, Pribilof Islands Aleut Community of St. Paul Island

Expeditions: Bluffs, caves, hills, shores of the Pribilof Islands and the Shetland Islands Favorite Place: Near the sea

Best Discovery: The meanings of the words. In the Aleut language, “tanadaqadakux” translates as “done visiting this land.” There is no word for Death

Favorite Items in the Field: Empty pockets (for filling) and my sense of smell

Personal Heroes: My parents for their tribal spirituality

Hobbies: Basketry, collecting rocks, hiking


Advice: Earth is a living entity – our Mother. It is not a place.