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Lillian Olin was born in 1924 to Tassianna Big Jim Pitka from Kaltag and Richard Pitka from Nulato in a camp on the Dolby River, a tributary of the Koyukuk River north of Galena, Alaska. She almost died at childbirth, and had nine brothers and sisters. While she was growing up, Lillian and her family lived a subsistence lifestyle, which usually meant traveling to different camps for the different seasons. In 1937, Lillian met her husband, Fred Olin, and they were married in 1948. Together, they had three children. Lillian lived in Galena, Ruby, and Fairbanks. She worked at the Galena Air Force Base, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and in the 1990s was a bilingual teacher with the Galena School District. After she retired, Lillian still taught anyone who was willing to learn the Athabascan language and culture in her home in Galena, as well as traditional sewing techniques. Lillian Olin passed away in 2010 at age 85.