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Ruth Ridley is a Han Athabascan elder from Eagle, Alaska who is the daughter of Louise and Josie Paul. Her mother's parents were Eliza and Joe Malcolm of Eagle, and her dad’s parents were Elizabeth and Paul Josie of Old Crow, Yukon Territory, Canada. She grew up in Eagle and living at the Coal Creek mining camp where her father was working. They lived a traditional subsistence lifestyle based on fishing, hunting, trapping and berry picking in the region. She spent many summers with her grandparents, where Han and Gwichin were the only languages spoken. As a fluent speaker of her Native Han language, Ruth has followed in her mother's footsteps and since the late 1970s has been involved with the documentation and preservation of her Native Han language. First, by transcribing her mother's audio recordings, then collaborating with Dr. Michael Krauss at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and more recently with Doyon Foundation and linguist, John Ritter, of the Yukon Native Language Centre. Ruth is also an accomplished skin and fur sewer.