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Charlotte Graham (408) 439-6541 | 
Public Information Officer, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

Open Space Renames Coyote Ridge

Máyyan 'Ooyákma – Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve  

San José, Calif. (October 28, 2022) – On Thursday, October 27, the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (Open Space Authority) Board of Directors voted unanimously to include a Chochenyo translation of “Coyote Ridge” alongside the current preserve name, making it Máyyan 'Ooyákma – Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve. Chochenyo is considered a dialect of what linguists now call the San Francisco Bay Costanoan language that also includes Ramaytush and Thámien.  

The Chochenyo name is a direct translation for Coyote Ridge. Máyyan 'Ooyákma – Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve (which is slated to open to the public in 2023) is located in the Diablo Range foothills overlooking Coyote Valley, within the ethnohistoric territory of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area (Muwekma Ohlone Tribe).  

How to say "Máyyan 'Ooyákma"

Click the image above to watch a video of Tribal Vice-Chairwoman Monica Arellano pronouncing Máyyan 'Ooyákma. Provided by the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, the phonetic pronunciation is My-yahn Oiy-yahk-mah.

The Open Space Authority aims to promote awareness, justice, and equity regarding the displacement of the Indigenous Peoples from the lands the agency now owns and manages in Santa Clara Valley.

“This is the first time that Open Space Authority is integrating an Indigenous language into a preserve name,” says Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager of the Open Space Authority. “We hope this gives visibility to the Chochenyo language while also honoring the research and science that has protected this critical habitat for wildlife – including coyotes, bobcats, and tule elk, serpentine soils, and the rare and endemic plant and animal species like the federally threatened Bay checkerspot butterfly.”

In 2021, Open Space Authority Staff began consulting with the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe to develop bilingual interpretive materials for the Preserve’s Public Access Improvements Project. As a part of this research, the agency was made aware of the Preserve's location close proximity to significant habitation and burial sites in Coyote Valley and along Coyote Creek, which runs near the base of the Preserve.

"For thousands of years, my ancestors have stewarded these lands including the Coyote Valley (Máyyan Wáayi) region including the Coyote Ridge (Máyyan 'Ooyákma) Open Space Preserve," says Charlene Nijmeh, Chairwoman, Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area. "Today our Muwekma Ohlone people still reside on these sacred lands in which we are connected to in a spiritual way...It is a great honor for our Tribe to partner with the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority in naming the Coyote Ridge Preserve in our native Muwekma Ohlone language." [Full statement available here.] 

Monica Arellano, Vice-Chairwoman of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, brought the proposed name to the Tribe’s Language Committee for consideration in June 2022. The proposal was met with support, and the Committee provided additional recommendations for the Open Space Authority to support the interpretation of other physical and geographic features of the preserve, as well as the connections of the location to the Tribe.

Prior to the arrival of Spanish missionaries, the foothills adjacent to Coyote Valley, including Coyote Ridge, were important to Indigenous Peoples for hunting, plant collection, and quarrying. With Spanish settlement, missions, and laws, and subsequent governance by Mexico and the United States, Indigenous Peoples experienced loss of life, land, and culture. An example of this erasure is the full or partial loss of native languages, including the Chochenyo language, which the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is actively working to steward and restore.

"As a public land preservation agency, it is important that we acknowledge and respect Indigenous Peoples working to restore and protect their culture, connection to the land, and their efforts to bridge past and future,” says Jennifer Hooper, Associate Open Space Planner and Tribal Liaison for the Open Space Authority. “We are grateful for our ongoing partnership with the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and appreciate their collaboration on this preserve naming effort.”
The Open Space Authority will continue working with local Tribes through the Coyote Valley Conservation Areas Master Plan and other priority areas within Santa Clara Valley.

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Click here for photos of Máyyan 'Ooyákma – Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve

About the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority conserves the natural environment, supports agriculture, and connects people to nature, by protecting open spaces, natural areas, and working farms and ranches for future generations. Since 1993, the Open Space Authority has protected almost 29,000 acres of open space, natural and working areas, watersheds, and wildlife habitat – providing ecologically friendly outdoor recreation and preserving the natural beauty and environmental health of the Santa Clara Valley. Visit for more information.

We acknowledge that the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority works within lands that were originally stewarded by the Awaswas-, Chochenyo-, Mutsun-, and Thámien-speaking peoples. Today we are honored to partner with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area in our shared work to protect and restore the environment and connect people to land. Learn more.
Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority | 408.224.7476 |