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Introducing 'Ootchamin 'Ooyakma

Rainbow over Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve - 'Ootchamin 'Ooyakma

Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is honored to introduce 'Ootchamin 'Ooyakma, pronounced oot-cha-mean oo-yahk-ma, as the translation of Jasper Ridge in the Muwekma Ohlone Chochenyo dialect. The aboriginal Puichon Ohlone name of the area in which Jasper Ridge is located had not been recorded, but 'Ootchamin 'Ooyakma is the name suggested by the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area. It translates to red ridge or mountain. As those familiar with the preserve know, Jasper Ridge itself is named after the red siliceous material, or jasper, found on the ridge. Historical records indicate that this name was invented by Stanford’s geology department, circa 1901 (Regnery 1991).

The Muwekma Ohlone translation was suggested by the Tribe through Professor Peter Vitousek, who serves as a co-director of the First Nations’ Futures Program (FNFP). Over the past decade, the Tribe has increased its participation in FNFP, an international fellowship program intended to foster and train First Nations’ leaders. Each time FNFP is hosted by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, a ceremony is held at Jasper Ridge, where the Tribe welcomes FNFP fellows to their ancestral land. During the 2015 ceremony, the Tribe’s Language Committee suggested the name to Peter, who then relayed it to the Jasper Ridge Faculty Advisory Committee.

The translation 'Ootchamin 'Ooyakma will be added to the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve logos on all the signage at the preserve (see below). Having this translation is enthusiastically supported by students, faculty, staff, docents, and other affiliates, as well as by the School of Humanities and Sciences. There is strong consensus that the translation should be viewed as a gift from the Tribe, reflecting the Tribe’s relationship with Stanford, the Tribe’s language revitalization effort and focus on education, and the sacredness of the Jasper Ridge area to the Tribe.

Stanford Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve Ootchamin 'Ooyakma School of Humanities and Sciences

New logo of Stanford University, Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, 'Ootchamin 'Ooyakma, School of Humanities and Sciences.

For more about the significance of having this translation, please read the companion article, 'Ootchamin 'Ooyakma, what does it mean to all of us?


Further reading


Photo (top) by JRBP staff