It’s Official: Patrick’s Point State Park Will Change its Name to Honor Yurok Tribe

The California State Park and Recreation Commission voted for a name change of Patrick’s Point State Park to Sue-meg State Park. This name change – the first of its kind – will more accurately reflect the history and culture of the Yurok Tribe who have historically tended to the land.

At the formal request of the Yurok Tribe to rename the park, State Parks voted to change the park name from Patrick’s Point State Park to Sue-meg State Park and act on the promise of the Governor’s apology, to heal relationships with the Yurok Tribe, and to work to make the Yurok community whole through honoring their cultural and linguistic relationships with this area.

The decision will be celebrated by California State Park officials and Yurok Tribe members and state leaders on Monday, October 4 at 12:30 pm over Zoom. You can register for the celebration here.

This announcement marks a month of historic name changes in Northern California, honoring Native American tribes by renaming several popular destinations. Earlier this month, Squaw Valley was renamed Palisades Tahoe to eliminate the word deemed sexist and racist towards Native American women. Palisades’ new logo portrays an eagle, which pays homage to the Washoe Tribe.

The park along Northern California’s coast was acquired by State Parks in 1930 with the place name of Patrick’s Point already in use, dating back to the mid-1800s in reference to a homesteader, Patrick Beegan, who was accused of murdering numerous Native Americans. The new name will pay tribute to the Sumeg Village, which already sits in the park. Historically, there are two correct pronunciations/spellings of the village, Sue-meeg and Sue-meg, that are recorded from the first Yurok language speakers. The preferred phonetic spelling as recommended by the Yurok Tribe is “Sue-meg.”

Patrick’s Point State Park is located within the ancestral lands of the Yurok people on the northern coast of California in Humboldt County, 26 miles north of Eureka and 46 miles south of Crescent City. Much of the unit is developed for public use. In addition to stunning natural features, the park includes Sumeg Village which was planned and built by Yurok people and dedicated in 1990. Sumeg Village’s redwood plank family houses, sweathouses, dance structure, and changing houses are used for cultural and education activities for area tribes, and as an interpretive center to help educate the public about Northwest California Native American cultures.

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