Native voice, native vision: Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians honor ancestral roots with name change
BROOKS, Calif. – The Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians have legally changed its name to Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. Yocha Dehe – pronounced “YO-cha DEE-hee” – is the tribe’s ancestral name meaning “home by the spring water” in their native Patwin language, a reflection of the actual place their ancestors lived.
In the 19th century, the federal government labeled the tribe the Rumsey Band, solely because they had a village site close to the town of Rumsey. Today, in their traditional dialect, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation moves forward with a name that has cultural meaning and significance to their people.
The name change marks an important time for the people of Yocha Dehe. It connects the tribe to their heritage and expresses hope for the future. It will also help the tribe tell its story to visitors, neighbors, business and government partners.
“California tribes are here today, not just as a surviving people, but here fully participating in our lives, in our cultures, in our traditional lifeways,” said Chairman Marshall McKay.
As the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, the tribe is following its vision and voice to claim their story and shape their future.