The name Troth Yeddha'
Pronouncing the name
Matthew Titus pronounced the name Troth Yeddha' in 1981 in this recording.
Jo lo Troth Yeddha', delo ghw jo tr'edaltth'i right now, university.
Here then is 'wild potato ridge' here where we are staying now, the university.
About the name Troth Yeddha'
The Athabascan (or Dene) languages have ancient ties to the Tanana River Valley. Dene place names are functional, rule driven, and memorizable and are shared with neighboring languages. The ridge that is the site of the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus was called Troth Yeddha' (sometimes spelled Troth Yetth) by the Lower Tanana Dene (or Athabascans). Lower Tanana is the indigenous language spoken from Moose Creek Bluff (east of North Pole) down the Tanana to Baker Creek/Zitziana River. The Chena Athabascan band ranged between the Chena River and the Alaska Range.
For nearly a century many Tanana Valley Athabascan experts have shared with pride facts about the place name Troth Yeddha'. Troth is the plant (Hedysarum alpinum) known in English as "Indian potato," "wild potato," and "wild carrot." The word yeddha' means "its ridge, its hill." The troth roots were the most important vegetable food for the Alaska Athabascans. Troth can still be found in steam beds and flood plains between the university and the Tanana River.
Use the following links to learn more about the Chena people and the Lower Tanana language. There is oral history evidence of a small settlement at Troth Yeddha' before the 1840s.
- USGS page for Troth Yeddha'
- UAF catalog discussion of Troth Yeddha'
- "A Named Place" (Fairbanks News Miner)
- Howard Luke: My Own Trail
- Robert Charlie discusses significance of the name Troth Yeddha' (video)
- 11 Troth-based Place Names in the College Area (list and map; PDF)
- Native Place Names of the Fairbanks Area
- Lower Tanana place names lecture
- Harvesting the troth plant from According to Mama
- An altercation at Troth Yeddha' in the 1840s.
- Troth Yeddha' annual Run for the Park 5K