Akana is the outcome of a merger between two professional services firms – Cooper Zietz Engineers and Cascade Design Professionals – both Native American owned, both leaders in their fields. The merger cemented a long-term business relationship, expanded the range of our individual service capabilities, and created opportunities to enter new markets. As one entity, Akana can now serve clients through every stage of a project, from planning through design, construction and commissioning.
Our name defines how we work together to plan, design, engineer, and manage projects that benefit the communities we live in. Derived from the Northern Plains Arikara Indian words akana’u (to build) and akaanu’ (lodge), it represents the concept of a gathering place, both the structure and the vehicle for sharing knowledge and inspiration. It is a place for learning and teaching; a place that brings together ideas and commerce, a place where the community gathers to share and work toward a common goal.
The basic elements of the Akana Symbol represent a tradition steeped in meaning. The vertical “rainbow” in the center of the Symbol is composed of four opposing horizontal bars which tie to the four seasons and the four stages of life as recognized in many Native cultures: birth, youth, adulthood and death. The white, open square represents the four cardinal directions: north, south, east and west. The inner square represents the tribes who have settled. The outer circle is intended to provide a sense of security and balance for those tribes who wander.