Ohlone Memorial in San Francisco

By Helen Tinsley-Jones

Tour group at Yerba Buena Gardens, Sheldon Jones at right

On a gloriously sunny, completely fog-free San Francisco day, my husband Sheldon and I joined a South of Market walking tour sponsored by SF City Guides, which is affiliated with the SF library.  Meandering through Yerba Buena Gardens and then stopping at the northwest corner of the gardens, we arrived at Oche Wat Te Ou, a memorial to the Ohlone peoples designed by Indigenous artists Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and James Luna and installed in 1993.  The memorial is a circular space, bounded by flattened stones, a crescent-shaped reflection pool and a hill-shaped wooden fence of basket-weave design.  Shaded by five redwood trees and a single live oak, Oche Wat Te Ou was created to be a site for poetry, storytelling and other events held in the oral tradition.  A special, contemplative place, a gem, I thought.  But I also wondered:  should the memorial have more obvious signage so that visitors could more easily find it and understand its significance?  or does the memorial call for us to take effort and undertake intentional searching to discover it?  What do you think?

One comment

  1. Hi!

    I think that it could be advertised so that more people are attracted. It looks like a beautiful space.

    I am not sure that being drawn to it and investigating where it is, lets many folks know about the place and the history.

    It reminds me of the AIDS Memorial.



    Rev. Frances K. Moulton

    Interfaith Minister


    Life becomes religious whenever we make it so . . . Sophia Lyon Fahs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s