What’s in a name?
In California, the many Spanish and English place names tell a story of conquest, of places taken from people and names imported from elsewhere—the hometowns they pined for (Inverness, Fairfield, Newark), the saints and sisters they revered, and the stray impressions they immortalized (like comparing Mt. Tamalpais to a camel’s back). Some names stuck because they fit; others just get stuck. Most names were imposed on places once named something else.
In terms of naming, it was never ideal to have Rockville Trails Preserve across the street from Rockville Hills Regional Park, and both on Rockville Road. We wanted to be sure that these 1,500 picturesque acres of volcanically formed hills and majestic oaks received a name worthy of the wonders within it.
Now, it has one: Patwino Worrtla Kodoi Dihi Open Space Park.
Patwino Worrtla Kodoi Dihi (pronounced: Put.win.no War.klaw Kaw.doy De.he) means Southern Rock Home of the Patwin people. These words are from the Patwin language, spoken in this region for thousands of years. (The name of Suisun City also derives from Patwin, meaning where the west wind blows.)
We are grateful that this new name was thoughtfully chosen—and given—by the Council of Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, the descendants of the Patwin people who were the first stewards of these lands. This name was given following dialogue between Solano Land Trust and the Council over a period of years. An official renaming ceremony has been postponed due to COVID-19.
With this new name, Solano Land Trust and the greater community honor the people who tended and loved the land long before anyone else, and the vital role their descendants play in the Solano and Yolo counties today. Because you choose to support us and preserve land, we are able to make this gesture towards preserving language and culture by putting the Patwin language front and center.
November is Native American Heritage Month and we are excited to partner with the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation this year to share their content about Patwin culture using our social media platforms. Their varied programming includes cooking lessons for native dishes, lessons on the structure of the language, and information on the culture and worldview of Patwin people. We invite you to take this opportunity for education and celebration.
We also invite you to read our print Vistas, provided automatically as a thank you to all supporters of Solano Land Trust, which has a longer article on the renaming of Patwino Wortla Kodoi Dihi Open Space Park.
Please check out our short video about the collaboration that made the renaming possible.
Photos courtesy of Kim D'Amelio, Dennis Ferguson, and Dave Reider.