In recognition of the Indigenous peoples of San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly proudly names its new residential community, yakʔitʸutʸu, which means “our community” in the yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini Northern Chumash language.
Dedicated in honor of Cal Poly’s relationship with the Chumash, this student housing complex features seven residential halls named after yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini Northern Chumash sites throughout the Central Coast region.
Together, the university and Indigenous people of San Luis Obispo will serve to educate future generations of Cal Poly students and local residents.
Building Names and Meanings
|Tribe Name | yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini||The people of tiłhini|
|Housing Complex Name | yakʔitʸutʸu||Our community|
|Building | tsɨtkawayu||Cambria||Place of the horses|
|Building | elewexe||Paso Robles||Named for swordfish|
|Building | tšɨłkukunɨtš||Carrizo Plain||Place of the rabbits|
|Building | tiłhini||San Luis Obispo
|Place of the full moon|
|Building | tsɨtqawɨ||Morro Bay||Place of the dogs|
|Building | nipumuʔ||Nipomo||Place of the big house|
|Building | tsɨtpxatu||Avila Beach||Place of the whales|
Cal Poly is situated within yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini Northern Chumash homelands. The yak titʸu titʸu people are Indigenous to the San Luis Obispo region. They have lived in areas from Ragged Point to Carrizo Plain, Santa Maria to Morro Bay, since time immemorial and into the present.
Cal Poly, as a public institution, has the responsibility to acknowledge their presence and educate the community as a whole. As these places and villages have and always will be sites of relationship and exchange, naming the residence halls after the original Northern Chumash villages re-centers ongoing Indigenous experiences as a first step towards acknowledging this responsibility and developing partnerships across communities of students, faculty, staff, and neighbors on the Cal Poly campus and beyond.
- Village Narratives written by yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini Northern Chumash Tribe.
At first glance, the names of our newest housing community might look and sound a little unfamiliar. They’re actually written in Northern Chumash, and they incorporate some characters you might not have written before and some sounds you might not have used before. That’s okay! As any language-learner can tell you, it takes practice before you can wrap your tongue around new words—and even more practice before you can say those words with confidence.
Before you come to Cal Poly, take some time to get familiar with the names of this community and explore their meanings. Here are some resources to get you started:
We’re proud to celebrate the Northern Chumash — their history, their rich culture, and their deep connection to this land. The naming of the buildings was decided in collaboration with the yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini tribal project team. We’re grateful to all the partners—both on campus and off—who worked so hard over the years to take the yakʔitʸutʸu housing community from a concept to a home for nearly 1,500 first-year Cal Poly students:
- yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini tribal project team
- Northern Chumash Tribal Council
- California Indian Education Association
- University Housing
- American Indian and Indigenous Faculty Staff Association
- American Indian Student Association
- Inter Housing Council
- Council Cross Cultural Centers
- Office of the President Vice President for Student Affairs