Where Did the Name Tuleyome Originate
By Robert Thayer
Years after beginning my self-directed research into the lands of the creeks, I came across some records of the settlements of the Lake Miwok people, some of whom still inhabit a tine chunk of their original territory. It ran along the Putah Creek drainage between the south end of Clear Lake to the north, what is now Lake Berryessa to the south, the Mayaemas Mountains to the west, and the Blue Ridge to the east. Here in their ancestral lands, places names took on dimensions far beyond mere description or labeling. One name jumped off the page into my imagination: Tuleyome. This name referred in the Miwok tongue not only to an ancient village located along Copsey Creek, a small tributary of Cache Creek in the Excelsior Valley, but to the contemporary residents, the ancient ancestors, and the entire surrounding territory inhabited by the Lake Miwok people.
Literally, Tuleyome means “deep-home-place”.Upon learning of this name, I realized it captured the primary purpose of my quest and the reason for the writing of my book Life Place which was to discover, both specifically and generically, our Deep Home Place, that region where the heart has taken root and home territory has sprung forth. Tuleyome, a name marking a place a the head of the watershed (the village lay near the divide of the Putah and Cache Creek drainages), also includes the sound of the world tule (an unrelated Spanish name for “bulrush”), which is a characteristic plant of the marshes once home to the River Patwin far downstream, where I now live. Tuleyome seems to upstream to down.
The pronounced word “too-lee-oh-me”, soon became a self-contained place poem with a mantra-like mental reverberation. But the pluralism of a region demands that names be tried on and tested by many locals over long periods of time.
I won’t force my candidate name on either residents or readers, but for now I am content-just this one in print, and silently therafter-to name this corner of the universe, Tuleyome-Deep Home Place.
Tuleyome, protecting and preserving our Deep Home Place