Indigenous Place Names Project

Chanshtnu totem along trail

The Beginning of a Movement

In 2018, the Anchorage Park Foundation received a grant from the Rasmuson Foundation to begin work on a parks and trails indigenous place names project. The project aims to creatively, accurately, and beautifully highlight the culture and history of Anchorage and our indigenous people.

Soon after the project began, it became clear that parks and trails signage is a contributor and catalyst to a larger movement of Indigenous Place Naming. Being a part of Anchorage’s Indigenous Place Naming Movement means that you invest in changing the paradigm. Signage is one physical representation of this shift , but there is also a shift in processes, recording, mapping, experiencing, and celebrating.

From this project, we’ve learned that to change the paradigm and create a city that honors the Indigenous Place, there must be three components:

1. The leadership of a local culture bearer;
2. Advisory oversight from a broad base of stakeholders; and
3. Involvement of an Indigenous artist if it is appropriate to the project.

It is the combination of these three elements that allow a project to become part of a Movement and live beyond initial contributors to the next generation of our community.

How to Get Involved

The Anchorage Park Foundation is looking for organizations and individuals who want to support both the larger movement and this specific signage project. Here is how to get involved:

Organizations and individuals who want to support the efforts of the movement can become a movement sponsor. Their sponsorship will help support the implementation on of Level 1 and 2 signs as well as other projects within the program.

Sponsor logos