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Christy Ruby

Raven Seal Vest

Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes


FR N 315

I harvest the seal and sea otter, skin, flesh, and have the hides commercially tanned. My skills are self taught for this is a dying art and its hard to find a furrier who will teach these unique skills. Sea otter population is at a all time high in South East Alaska, so their is a lot of support from locals to harvest and protect our Native foods. We also have a crisis of tanned seal skins. We no longer have a commercial tannery to process seal skins, which is now causing a shortage in the remote villages. Natives use the seal skins to make apparel to sell and help pay high costs of heating oil. What seal skins are left cost $500+ and are poorly tanned. My goal next year is to open a seal tannery to supply skins to the elderly to save the traditional skill of seal sewing.