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Ruth Ridley

Ruth Ridley

Ruth Ridley is a Han Athabascan elder from Eagle Village, Alaska who was born in 1950 to Louise and Josie (Susie) Paul. Her mother's parents were Eliza and Joe Malcolm of Eagle Village, and her dad’s parents were Elizabeth and Paul Josie of Old Crow, Yukon Territory, Canada. She grew up in Eagle Village and and living at Snare Creek and 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 Gwich'in were the only languages spoken. Her older sisters are Ethel Beck and Bertha Ulvi. Ruth attended primary school in Eagle, went to Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon for high school, and returned to Eagle Village where she cared for her elderly mother. Ruth got married in 1968 and moved to Fairbanks. 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. Although she lives in Fairbanks, Ruth regularly returns to her home village for subsistence activities and to stay connected with her cultural traditions, traditional foods, and family.

Ruth Ridley appears in the following new Jukebox projects: