President Johnsen makes gift toward completion of Troth Yeddha’ Indigenous Studies Center at UAF

by Michelle Saport  |   

University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen has announced that he will gift $16,300 toward the completion of the Troth Yeddha' Indigenous Studies Center on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The gift, in the name of Jim and Mary Johnsen, was announced during the annual Alaska Federation of Natives gathering in Fairbanks on Tuesday, Oct. 18 and fulfills Johnsen's pledge to donate his performance bonus to a university project or program.

"One of my highest priorities as president of the university is to create critical space for the cultural and scholarly needs of our indigenous cultures," Johnsen said in announcing his gift, "and the Troth Yeddha' legacy provides for those needs. I am particularly honored to be a part of this undertaking because it will create a center singularly focused on Alaska's first peoples, and a physical sense of belonging for Alaska Native students. I believe Troth Yeddha' will establish a new level of excellence and academic focus on Alaska Native cultures and indigenous studies at UAF."

Troth Yeddha' comes from two Lower Tanana Athabascan words. "Troth" refers to the plant known in English as "wild potato," and "Yeddha'," which means "its ridge." The goal is to raise $25 million to complete the Troth Yeddha' Legacy in two phases: $5 million in phase one to create the Troth Yeddha' Park adjacent to the UA Museum of the North; and, $20 million in phase two to design the Indigenous Studies Center. To date, 58 donors have contributed nearly $700,000 in private support for this project.

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