New name is intended to honor Chumash culture
Indio Muerto Street is now Hutash Street.
The city of Santa Barbara changed the name from Indio Muerto, which translates to “dead Indian,” to Hutash, which is the Chumash name for “Earth Mother.” The change became official Monday.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was recorded Dec. 7 and was played in a webinar Monday afternoon to commemorate the change. Some remarks were given live, and others took place during the recorded ceremony.
Although many were vocal over the years about the need to rename the street, the process was not started until last spring when Barbareño Chumash Tribal Council members Casmali Lopez and Chimaway Lopez requested the change.
During the webinar, Mayor Cathy Murillo recognized the efforts of youth and the Ethnic Studies Now Coalition for their roles in the change.
“The Black Lives Matter uprising and movement of this year and a desire to create a racial and social justice for all peoples — this great movement carried the street naming effort,” she said.
Although the city acknowledges that it rarely changes street names, the City Council voted unanimously Sept. 29 to rename the street.
“To change that name, to some it might seem insignificant, but to us as Indian people, it’s a big step in righting the wrongs of history in the state of California,” James Ramos, the 40th District assembly member (D-Highland), said during the webinar.
“You have put together a model for the rest of the state and the nation to be able to look to when we start to look at changing names throughout our communities, communities that for so long have overlooked the impact it is had on California’s first people — California Indians,” he said. “Today, by the changing of this name, it starts to pave the way for things in California to start to recognize and honor with dignity and respect.”
During the Dec. 7 ceremony, Casmali Lopez and other tribal council leaders sang in remembrance of past generations. Then they tied prayer bundles to the pole of the street sign.
“Today, the prayer bundles and prayer poles are an act of remembering all the lives of the past that were lost and the prayers for a better world full of hope and justice for Hutash and our future generations,” Steve Villa, representative from the Barbareño Chumash Tribal Council, said.
Mayor Murillo also thanked the businesses along Hutash Street for changing their mailing address.email: firstname.lastname@example.org