For folks who are new to this place or our project, this namey thing can be downright confusing. So, here's a simple explanation...
Is it Morton's or Aletheia?
It's both! Our public, visitor-serving business entity is Morton's Warm Springs, and our community group, along with our longer-arc regenerative vision, we call Aletheia.
Some background. The Morton's family bought this land in 1946 and, after being here about five years, they changed its name from Los Guilicos Warm Springs to Morton's Warm Springs, which its now been for 68 years. That sounds like a long time, and it is. Many generations have come here and gotten to know and love this place as Morton's. And yet in the grander scheme of things, 68 years is the last thin slice on top of a very deep and multistoried history here, a history which we feel is critical to understand for anyone stepping into creative partnership with the unfolding of these Springs.
For about 100 years before the Morton's era, these Springs were known as Los Guilicos Warm Springs, having been renamed after Rancho Los Guilicos, the almost 19,000 acre Mexican land grant that covered much of upper Sonoma Valley from Santa Rosa to Glen Ellen, and which included these Springs as well as present day Oakmont, Kenwood and Annadel State Park. And though the Rancho was itself named by the Mexicans after the nearby Wappo tribal village known as Wilikos (in what is now Sugarloaf State Park), due to the legacy of colonization and genocide that came after, we've yet to find any evidence of what these Springs may have been called for perhaps thousands of years by its first nations stewards, whose living decedents have also shared with us that perhaps this knowledge has indeed been lost.
So, are you going to change the name to Aletheia Springs?
Short answer, no. And we don't take changing the name very lightly, either. We feel strongly that we'd have to truly "earn it" in order to even begin a process to change the official name. And that is something we imagine would only come much further down the line in our tenure here as stewards.
There's also a very multilayered and complex inquiry at play here with any future name changes that has a lot to do with why we're not too hot on doing it any time soon. First, there's the fact that we are but the latest in a long line of (predominantly white) folks "purchasing" these sacred springs who might like to rebrand them to our novel liking. Also, there is the two, three and sometimes four contiguous generations of families to consider who have been coming here and love this place as Morton's (not the least of which is the actual Morton's family themselves, who still wonderfully visit us each year!). So us changing the name in some quick-draw way could be akin to the audacious rebranding of Candlestick to 3Com Park.
And, last but not least, would the new name even be Aletheia Springs? It might. I love that name, personally, and all the meaning imbued within it. But is that really the name that would most serve and support this place to unfold into whatever new chapter may be on its horizon? Maybe so, but we'd need to go through a goodly process of deep listening with enough time and space to really consider and include as many of the layers and voices of these Springs' as possible, including its generations of caretakers and inhabitants, and not just the most recent ones.
We'd love to hear what you think. How does this land within you? What do you feel the name could/should/might be and the considerations you hold around it? And how do you relate to our process of keeping both Morton's AND Aletheia for the time being? ♨️❤️