Troth Yeddha’ update

Headshot photo of Charlene Stern, vice chancellor for rural community and Native education
UAF photo by JR Ancheta
Charlene Stern is the UAF vice chancellor for rural, community and Native education.

Aug. 31, 2022

Charlene Stern, vice chancellor for rural, community and Native education

The Troth Yeddha’ Indigenous Studies Center is UAF’s primary fundraising initiative, and an embodiment of UAF’s strategic priority to strengthen our position as global leaders in Alaska Native and Indigenous programs. The Troth Yeddha’ project is a tangible result of the Alaska Native Success Initiative strategic plan, which can be found on the UA President’s webpage, and was adopted by the Board of Regents in November 2021.

Recently, the UAF Chancellor appointed a user committee composed of faculty, staff and students to help inform the design and floor plan of the facility. The work of that committee kicked off this summer and we are excited to be engaging in conversations about innovative space for the co-location of Indigenous focused research, academic and student support programs. UAF is working with Bettisworth North and world-renowned Choctaw/Cherokee architect, Johnpaul Jones on phase II of the design.

As we plan for the new facility, our programs continue to grow! The UAF College of Rural and Community Development has welcomed new faculty in numerous disciplines including Rural Development, Alaska Native Studies, Tribal Governance, Alaska Native Languages, and Indigenous Studies. We have also been busy expanding our student support staff, most recently adding a degree completion advisor with Rural Student Services and an academic coach for the Rural Alaska Honors Institute! 

In related news, a goal of the UA Board of Regents recently adopted Alaska Native Success Initiative is to increase Indigenous visual representation across UAF campuses including signage and art. This goal is part of UAF’s efforts to increase the visibility of Troth Yeddha’ branding. We are excited to share that the new banner hanging from the Gruening building welcomes visitors to campus in several different Alaska Native languages including Gwich’in, Inupiaq, and Yup’ik among others. The digital sign at the main entrance of campus also now includes a “Welcome to Troth Yeddha’” message, which has received overwhelmingly positive feedback and will soon be joined by street banners with additional indigenous language messaging. These steps have the power to transform our campus to a place of belonging for all people. 

In the coming months, we will be focusing on establishing the Troth Yeddha’ Legacy Committee that will work closely with our team on fundraising efforts. I look forward to providing updates on the Troth Yeddha’ initiative each month.