Ada Blackjack was born on May 10, 1898 in Solomon, Alaska. She moved to Nome, Alaska where she married and had three children of which only one survived. Left destitute by her husband, she joined the Wrangle Island Expedition of 1921 which was financed by Vilhjalmur Stefansson. After a grueling two years on the island she was the only survivor of the expedition when she was rescued in 1923. She eventually returned to the Arctic where she lived until her death in 1983 at the age of 85.