Picture of John and Lorraine


Return to interview page

John and Lorraine Honea

Mike Spindler interviewed John and Lorraine Honea at Big Eddy Fish Camp, 15 mi E of Ruby, on September 6, 1995. The interview was edited and produced by Mike Spindler.

JOHN HONEA was born in 1911 at Kokrines, a now-abandoned village 27 miles upriver from Ruby. He passed away on March 16, 1996. His father, John McGuire, was an Irishman who died in 1912, when John was just a year old. His mother was Polly Nohunolno, a native of Kokrines. John Honea was raised by Mary Dean and Billy Honea, until they separated in 1923. At the age of twelve, John Honea was on his own. Early on, he cut firewood, herded reindeer, helped the miners, and worked with dog-team mail haulers. He had to teach himself to hunt, trap, and fish for a living. He married his wife, Lorraine, in 1936.

LORRAINE HONEA was born in 1920, the daughter of Freddie Olin and Matilda Paul, who died when Lorraine was 19 years old. Lorraine was raised until the age of twelve by her grandparents, Eva and Bill Roberts.

From 1937 until 1962, John and Lorraine spent each fall, winter, and spring trapping on the Nowitna River, near the mouths of the Sulukna and Sulatna Rivers. They each ran their own trapline by dog team, or on foot. Summers were spent on the Yukon River, where they fished to put up another winter's supply of salmon. They made dried King salmon strips for themselves and stored bales of split Chum salmon for their dogs. In 1962, John and Lorraine moved to Ruby, so they could provide schooling for their three children. They still spent summers at their fish camp, named "The Big Eddy," about 20 miles upstream from Ruby. After the children were grown, they spent more and more time at camp, and less in Ruby. John was known as a hard-working ambitious man, right up until his death in 1996. Lorraine still lives in Ruby, and runs the fish camp with her daughter Valerie. Their life together is further described in the book entitled "John Honea- Ruby, a biography," (1981: Hancock House Publishers, Blaine, WA).

The goal of Raven's Story is to record elders' stories, observations, and experiences relating to wildlife, fish, and subsistence in the Koyukuk and middle Yukon areas of interior Alaska. This Raven's Story was produced by Mike Spindler at public radio station KIYU-AM in Galena, Alaska, with the support of Louden Tribal Council and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Production was completed in February 2001.

Click on an audio link below to listen to a story.
1) Biography (with intro), (2:40)
2) Waterfowl (6:06)
3) Moose (4:44)
4) Caribou (3:43)
5) Reindeer (4:03)
6) Wolves (4:30)
7) Trapping (4:56)
8) Salmon (5:33)
9) Beaver and small game (3:48)
10) Bears (4:25)
11) Dog teams, river boats, and floods (4:19)
Project Jukebox Home | Raven Home | Interview Page