In Fall of 2020, Smoke Signals is proud and honored to have supported the Merreline A. Kangas School, located in the Athabascan Village of Ruby, by providing their students with our Native Strong Backpack Program.
In the summer months, the Village of Ruby is accessible only by boat or air. In the winter, you can only get there by snow-mobile or dog sleds. The Koyukon name for Ruby is Tlaa’ologhe‘, which means at the edge of the bluff. The Village of Ruby is remote. Located on the south bank of the Yukon River at the northwestern most tip of the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge.
Ruby was established in 1911 as the result of the Alaska gold rush. At its peak, Ruby had a population of about 3,000 prospectors who came in from all over the U.S. However by 1918, the population rapidly declined because the mines no longer sustained the greed and fortunes of the prospectors.
By 1945, Ruby was pretty much abandoned, and the indigenous Athabascan People from the neighboring village of Kokrines, utilized what was left of the structures to support their own community. Today, the Athabascan People of Ruby Village remain living from the land as they have done throughout time. Hunting for Moose and fishing for Salmon in the seasonably favorable months, trapping in the winter, is their “Subsistence” way of life.