Ruby lies on the south bank of the Yukon River, adjacent to the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge. Ruby developed as a supply point for gold prospectors. It was named after the red-colored stones found on the riverbank which were thought by some prospectors to be rubies.
Ruby's current residents are Koyukon Athabascans of the Nowitna-Koyukuk band, a nomadic group who followed game with the changing seasons. Subsistence activities provide most food sources for the villagers - salmon, moose, bear, ptarmigan, waterfowl, and berries are utilized.