Troth Yeddha' Initiative

Troth Yeddha' Indigenous Studies Center

A place for thinking and working together.

The Troth Yeddha’ Indigenous Studies Center will serve as a central Alaska Native gathering place with classes, services and activities as a breathtaking tribute that affirms Alaska Native culture and contributions across Alaska. The Center will be built at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) . With growing enrollment of Indigenous students and a history steeped in culture, the Troth Yeddha’ Indigenous Studies Center champions a path forward to honor Alaska’s First Peoples, to meet the current and future campus demands and to prepare the University for academic growth.

Timing is crucial as we respond to demand in areas such as the revitalization of Indigenous languages, restoration of cultural knowledge, community healing, and centering Indigenous knowledge. 

Why support? 

Troth Yeddha’ Indigenous Studies Center is a key pillar to the Alaska Native Success Initiative strategic plan.

Troth Yeddha’ is a visible and tangible symbol of the University of Alaska’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Troth Yeddha’ is an investment in economic and workforce development designed to strengthen the pipeline of Alaska Native students into high-demand careers.

Troth Yeddha’ aims to solidify the University of Alaska as a recognized global leader in Alaska Native and Indigenous Studies.

Contact UAF Development and Alumni Relations at or 907-474-2619 with questions.

Campaign Goal

UAF aims to fund the majority of this project with privately raised funds. We are thankful to the donors that have already committed over $1.5 million in support. We invite you to join the many who have already pledged their philanthropic support to advance the vision for the initiative.

$1 million Kinross gift boosts Troth Yeddha’ initiative

From left, Charlene Stern, UAF vice chancellor for rural, community and Native education; Terence Watungwa, vice president and general manager at Kinross Alaska; Dan White, UAF chancellor; Anna Atchison, external affairs director for Kinross Alaska; Dominic Channer, global vice president, community relations, for Kinross; and Aaron Schutt, Aaron M. Schutt, Doyon, Limited president and CEO and chairman of the Troth Yeddha’ Legacy Committee, pose after the announcement of a $1 million gift from Kinross to the Troth Yeddha' initiative on Tuesday, April 13, 2022, at the Doyon Building in Fairbanks.

A $1 million donation from Kinross will bring the Troth Yeddha’ Indigenous Studies Center one step closer to reality.

“This important project will position UAF as a global leader in Indigenous STEM science and innovation that will benefit our community, state and nation,” said Charlene Stern, UAF’s vice chancellor for rural, community and Native education. “This gift demonstrates Kinross' commitment to the vision for Alaska Native and Indigenous programs that will help to meet Alaska's workforce needs now and into the future.” Learn more.

Thank you to all of the generous donors who have supported the Troth Yeddha' Indigenous Studies Center. 

  • Anonymous
  • Alyeska Pipeline Service Company*
  • Carol and Raymond Barnhardt*
  • Thomas and Sheila Barrett
  • The Brooks Family; In Memory of C. Bradford Brooks & Bernice M. Joseph
  • Chugach Alaska Corporation
  • Doyon, Limited
  • President Jim Johnsen and Mrs. Johnsen
  • Jones & Jones Architect and Landscape Architects Ltd
  • Brian Rogers and Sherry Modrow
  • Grace Berg Schaible+
  • Aaron Schutt and Marissa Flannery
  • Tanana Chiefs Conference
  • UAF Alumni Association

A named place

Information from the Alaska Native Language Center

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.


Pronouncing the Name

Matthew Titus pronounced the name Troth Yeddha' in 1981 in this recording.

Related Resources

USGS page for Troth Yeddha'

UAF catalog discussion of Troth Yeddha'

"A Named Place" (Fairbanks News Miner)

Robert Charlie discusses significance of the name Troth Yeddha' (video)

Contact and giving information:

To learn more about the initiative or to make a gift, contact UAF Development and Alumni Relations at, 907-474-2619.