Our History

Troth Yeddha'

History fosters our connections to our ancestors and adds value to the things we do today. For that reason, we would like to share the history of the land that UAF sits on with you.

The land now occupied by the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus was called Troth Yeddha' ("wild potato") by the Tanana Athabascans. The late traditional Chief, Peter John, of Tanana Chiefs Conference said, "Our people used to come to this hill to pick Troth.  They would paddle up the creek, Troth Yeddh No and camp by the Lake Troth Yeddh 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 so their grandchildren would be part of the new school."

Chief Peter John described himself as "Bedzeyh te xwt'ana", Caribou clan. My wife is "Taneedzo gheltseel 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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