Chochenyo Language Trail Markers Unveiled at Coyote Hills Regional Park
Friday, December 2, 2022 (Oakland, CA) – On Sunday, November 27, 2022, the Park District celebrated the renaming of 35 trail posts at Coyote Hills Regional Park to include trail names in Chochenyo, the language of the park’s First Peoples. Coyote Hills is the ancestral homeland of the Tuibun Ohlone peoples, who have thrived with the land and spoken the Chochenyo language since time immemorial.
“The new trail markers honor a request by the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe to restore original place names at Coyote Hills and integrate them into park signage,” said Park District Board Director Ayn Wieskamp. “The new trail markers are also an important interpretive feature that connects to the Visitor Center’s educational programming and Chochenyo language welcome sign.”
“We are grateful to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and their language committee for their translations and efforts to restore Chochenyo words to Coyote Hills,” said Park District General Manager Sabrina Landreth. “The Chochenyo language trail markers help advance the Park District’s mission of preserving our parkland’s rich heritage of natural and cultural resources.”
The Muwékma Ohlone Tribe Language Committee began working on this Chochenyo Trail Marker Project in 2016, with the first posts unveiled this November to coincide with Native American Heritage Month. The new trail markers include a post with an emblem that lists the translated Chochenyo trail name.
“Makkin Mak Nommo – which means ‘we are still here’,” said Monica V. Arellano, Muwekma Ohlone vice chairwoman and co-chair of the Muwekma Language Committee. “When people see the language and the land, they see the connection and realize that Muwekma are still present, alive, and thriving.”
Ohlone People continue to practice their culture and traditions today, including relearning, restoring, and re-teaching the Chochenyo language.
The Coyote Hills Visitor Center includes educational displays and exhibits portraying the Ohlone way of life and a tule reed boat constructed by park staff and volunteers using Native American methods. Other exhibits cover the park's natural history wetland habitats, and wildlife. Naturalist-led programs include tours of the nearby parklands and marsh areas, highlighting Ohlone history and the ways today’s Ohlone People are bringing their cultures into the future.
Coyote Hills Regional Park is comprised of nearly 1,274 acres of marshland and rolling grassland-covered hills, along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, northwest of the cities of Fremont and Newark. Popular visitor activities are bicycling, walking, bird watching, jogging, nature exploration, and picnicking.
The November 27, 2022, celebration included the unveiling of the first five Chochenyo language trail markers, with the remaining trail markers to be installed over the next six months.