View Full Version : Ohlone Indian girls name and any other west coast native american info

08-31-2012, 09:41 PM
My first post! (Be gentle.)

Does anyone happen to know anything about the California Ohlone Indians? I have a minor, but fairly important, character who is an Rumsen Ohlone (in Monterey County in a fictional summer village on the coast of what is now Carmel ) girl (between 10 to 13 years old; haven't set the exact age in stone yet) in pre-spanish mission times and she needs a name.

I am currently calling her "Makúla" which, I believe, means simply "girl" (actually it might only refer to a baby girl or a small child, for all I know). It doesn't matter if the name means anything (although if it just happens to mean "memory" that'd be miraculous! ["Sea Otter" would be good too]); I just need a credible name.

As long as I'm posting I would *welcome* any two-bit unsolicited information about the Ohlone anyone might have. I'd be particularly interested in knowing more about their attitude toward death and their antecedants and decendants as individuals. (Vague and unspecific, I know. I'm sorry.)

And, as long as I am posting, I don't really expect anyone to be able to answer this but I found the following on a "touristy" web site.

"In the time of the missions, Native Americans would go out on foggy evenings to "cheer up" their friends, the sad and lonely fog spirits. The mission fathers strictly forbade any such pagan activity and one night followed them out into the fog and performed an exorcism. The fog spirits, offended, departed howling, causing sadness among the Indians. Poetic justice prevailed, however, when the priest who performed the exorcism went mad, jumped off a cliff into the sea at Point Lobos, and was drowned. Or so the story goes."

Does this sound like an authentic legend to you, or is your baloney meter going of as mine is? (It's a nice story, though. I'll probably use it anyway but it'd be nice if *I* didn't set off any baloney meters.)

(not escential but any "aleut", kodiak, tlingit, pomo or chumash names, male or female, would be useful for extremely minor characters [who don't really need names].)

09-01-2012, 12:10 AM
First off, welcome.

Second, as I understand it Ohlone isn't a language so much as a group of similar dialects. All of which are dormant. One of the main researcher of the dialects was influential in the creation of Klingon (don't know what to make of that to be honest) Marc Okrand is his name.

Another big name is John Harrington. They both have published papers.

I also came across this

As for names, if this story takes place after the Spanish made it there, it would be likely that she would have had a Christian name given by the missionaries. Just a possibility.

09-01-2012, 12:42 AM
Thank you.

Takes place (her portion of it at any rate; it's a quasi-time-travel type thingy) before the Spanish missions. (Once the missionaries did make it there-- which they did in a mad decade and a half rush after 200 years of pretty much ignoring it [it's a *big* territory]-- *everything* changed. The missionaries weren't merely interested in converting them to Christianity but in changing thier entire society to model that of Spanish estates [with Spain providing the nobility, of course]. Then there was that whole measles mishap...)

I was using "Ohlone" as a cultural group but my actual knowledge (even basic terminology) is scanty at best. (Does language co-relate directly to societal groups? How would I know? My training is as a mathematician... This actually leads into another question I haven't gotten around to researching on my own: An Ohlone, Monterey Area, origin myth claims coyote had five wives and each was a mother of one of the "five people". Who were the "five people"? I'm assuming I'll be able to research that relatively easily.)

Anyway, thanks for the references and thanks for the welcome.

09-01-2012, 12:50 AM
I also came across this

That is a *fantastic* article. It doesn't help me directly in the least. But it is a *fantastic* article.

01-07-2017, 06:27 AM
Hi! I know it's been a really long time since you've asked this question, but just in case you're still thinking about this story, I've got a couple of names.

One name is toxxesa. The x is like the ch in German, bach or ich. It's like an h in the k position. (TOHX-xeh-sah)
uuši. The u is long, and pronounced like oo in food. (OOOO-shee)
ričkuna. The c caron is a ch sound, and the r is like an r in Spanish. (REECH-koo-nah)
muuxeleš. (MOOOO-xeh-lehsh)
Nicknames were given based on certain events in life. There was a girl named muunus (MOOOO-noos) which literally means filth. I assume she was born in someplace dirty or something happened to her that involved garbage.
A lot of times, names were given based on the circumstances of the birth. I know a woman had a name something like ipixins or something like that because she was born with teeth. ippx (eeppx) means rattlesnake in Rumsen.
If you want more names, you can go to missions.huntington.com. They have the mission records from Carmel Mission, and if you search up census and add in the field native name, it gives you a list of names recorded in Rumsen. But since some Esselen people were also there, make sure to add in the field origin/derived origin, and it gives you the villages the individual was taken from. Just remember anything that likes Excelen or Esselen is not Rumsen.

To answer your question about the Ohlone, when a loved one dies, they burn his/her body in a pyre with his/her possessions. The females of the family cut their hair, most likely by burning it off. After that, they never spoke the deceased's name again.

That fog legend is accurate. There is a video of Linda Yamane, a Rumsen woman today, singing a song about the fog and making it go away. It's somewhere on Youtube.

Do you speak Rumsen? It would make things a lot easier for you. Makúla, I'm afraid, does not mean girl. atšankw means girl (AHT-shaw-nkw). The word for otter is suusč (SOOOSCH).

For Chumash names, there is this article: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/8zj4708q#page-3