Troth Yeddha' Park

square bullet imageThe fall 2014 issue of Aurora captured my attention with the article about “Troth Yeddha’” (wild potato ridge), the Native name for College Hill.

I served on the faculty of the School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management from 1984 to 1990, and one of our interests in resource management was to increase awareness and understanding of Alaska Native cultures and how they manage resources. One easy step forward was to use Native languages for traditional gathering places and landmarks.

I remember discovering the Native name for College Hill in the Ahtna Athabaskan Dictionary (James Kari, 1990, Alaska Native Language Center) and recommended using the name in an article published in the journal Arctic (June 1992). I also remember great discussions with other faculty on campus — Bob Weeden and Alan Jubenville come to mind — about how Native ways could enrich how we, coming from the Western tradition, thought about the resource education we offered.

It is profoundly heartening to read about this change on campus, as I know it means a great deal to Alaska Native people and students and speaks very highly of the direction taken by UAF leadership and faculty.

I taught in the Rural Alaska Honors Institute (Native high school preparation for college program) several summers and did most of my academic research on integration of Native ways with Western ways. That research led to my being selected, in 1989, to be a Kellogg Leadership Fellow, which led to international study of and consulting on the interaction of indigenous people with Western culture in the area of resource use.

Now that I am retired, it is very heartening to know that something we kicked around as a good idea some 22 years ago has become reality. Massee’.

–Tom Gallagher

square bullet imageI was happy to read the fall 2014 issue of Aurora until I got to the last page where it stated that the University Fire Department was formed in 1964.1964 was the year in which the new firehouse was built and put into service. Prior to that time, the main fire truck (we had two rigs) was kept in the carpenter shop and the crew slept in the basement of the girls’ dormitory, which was Hess Hall.

We had an active volunteer fire department, which responded to not only campus calls but also alarms outside the Fairbanks city limits from Lemeta to the rural area behind the campus, including Farmers Loop and the surrounding area.

The chief of the department was also a student. He had been appointed by Ben Atkinson because of his previous military and civilian background in firefighting. While he was classified as a volunteer, he was paid a token salary by UAF. At that time, there were about nine or 10 firemen who helped maintain the safety of the area. Three of the crew had previous military experience.


I appreciate Aurora magazine.

–Dave Bouker ’65

Editor’s note: The article was changed in the online version to clarify that the celebration in July recognized the 50th anniversary of the creation of the student firefighting program in its current form and the construction of the fire station.

square bullet imageAurora is certainly a beautiful publication. Much more sophisticated than the old Polar Star, which I edited in 1950–1951. Of course, through no fault of yours, there isn’t much news that relates to my era. But keep us on your mailing list.

–Bill Holman ’55, ’58

square bullet imageGreat job — congratulations.
I loved the article (and the associated graphics), “Attack of the debris lobes.”

–Chris Mungall ’70, ’73

P.S. For all us geeks, do tell us one of these days how they did the clever scrolling additions online.

Web designer’s note: I used a JavaScript called skrollr.js. It uses data points to represent the scroll distance on a page. It was pretty neat to learn and use.