Celebration Marks 100-Year Anniversary of Historic Meeting
On July 6, 2015, Tanana Chiefs Conference hosted an event commemorating the day that seven chiefs from Interior Alaska met with Judge James Wickersham on the banks of the Tanana River. The weather was very similar to what was experienced 100 years ago, as were the topics discussed.
The day of celebration started at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Troth Yeddha’ Park, where Elders blessed the site and university officials and Native leaders described the positive partnerships that have developed over the last 100 years between the university system and Native people around the state. Ultimately, the Troth Yeddha’ site will be home to an indigenous studies center, a place dedicated to keeping indigenous knowledge and practices alive.
Following the opening remarks, those in attendance walked and sang Native songs as they proceeded to the cornerstone of the university campus for a re-dedication ceremony.
The day continued at the Chief David Salmon Tribal Hall with a panel discussion on land, education, health and employment, which were the same four topics that were discussed in 1915 by Chief Alexander of Tolovana, Chief William of Tanana, Chief Thomas of Nenana, Paul Williams of Tanana, Chief Ivan of Crossjacket, Chief Charlie of Minto, Chief William of Tanana, Judge Wickersham and other officials. Serving on the panel were Steve Ginnis, executive director of Fairbanks Native Association; Evon Peter, vice chancellor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Aaron Schutt, president and CEO of Doyon, Limited; and Natasha Singh, general counsel of Tanana Chiefs Conference.
The day concluded with a potlatch featuring Native foods for almost 500 people, as well as singing and dancing.
“This special event was a day of remembrance, celebration, honor, pride and hope for what is to come in the next 100 years,” Schutt said.