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Sonja Sager was born in 1979 in Eagle, Alaska to Elisabeth and Mike Sager. She grew up at their remote cabin on Trout Creek, about 40 miles down the Yukon River from Eagle, where she enjoyed a nature-based childhood and a semi-nomadic winter lifestyle of traveling by dogteam and moving between cabins along a trapline. Her sister, Iris, was born at Trout Creek in 1983. Around 1988, the family moved into Eagle, where Sonja finished school and made many friends both in Eagle and in the Native Eagle Village. Her mother and father divorced, each found new partners, and provided two new sisters (Alida and Hanna) for Sonja. Sonja continues to live in Eagle with her husband, Mike McDougal, and is raising her children similar to how she grew up. They live a subsistence lifestyle of hunting, fishing, berrypicking, gathering plants, as well as raising a large garden by their home. They use dogteams as their main form of winter transportation, and have a boat for summer river travel. Having grown up there, Sonja has a strong sense of place and connection to the land, river and people in Eagle and around the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Perserve, as well as a strong environmental ethic and conservation philosophy. She continues to own, maintain, and use the family's cabin at Trout Creek where she grew up.