Troth Yeddha'

The land now occupied by the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus was called Troth Yeddha' (wild potato hill) by the Tanana Athabascans. The late Traditional Chief Peter John of Tanana Chiefs Conference of Interior Alaska said, "Our people used to come to this hill to pick Troth. They would paddle up the creek, Troth Yeddha' No, and camp by the lake, Troth Yeddha' Mena. Troth Yeddha' was important, a meeting place. The grandfathers used to come to talk and give advice to one another about what they were going to do. When they learned this place would be used for a school, the university, they came here one last time, to decide what they should do. They decided that the school would be good and would carry on a very similar traditional use of this hill--a place where good thinking and working together would happen. They placed an eagle feather on a pole. This was to let all the people know that the Dena would no longer be using the ridge for a meeting place or to pick wild potatoes. They were also giving a blessing to their grandchildren who would be part of the new school." Chief Peter John described himself and explained the gesture as "I am Bedzeyh te xwt'ana, caribou clan. My wife is Taneedzo ghetseel na, middle clan. I am proud of it. I am an Indian. What does it mean to put an eagle feather with the United States flag? The eagle feather is connected with the clan. It is a symbol of us. We are part of this new nation. People from all over the world come to the university to go to school and teach. We have something in common. Something all American people can share in. Be proud of it. Make it all the way, not just part way."


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Last modified April 8, 2011 by Marketing and Communications Web Developer.