Thomas Doty – Storyteller
Ti'lomikh Names Project
This long-term project is just beginning. As the research continues, more names and short biographies will be included. Check back often for updates.
During the Rogue River War of the 1850s, Apserkaha -- Horse Rider -- was known as Chief Joe, a name he took from Joseph Lane. He was a principal chief and signed the treaties of 1851, 1853, and 1854. Both Takelmas and Shastas claim him as an ancestor. He died of tuberculosis in 1854, two years before his people were removed from their homeland to reservations in northern Oregon.
Toquahear – Chief Sam
Martha Jane Sands was born around 1842. She was a master basket weaver. As a child, she was a member of Chief Joe's band in southern Oregon. In 1856, at the end of the Rogue River War, she was visiting relations in the Umpqua country when government soldiers were rounding up Indians to ship and force-march to the reservations up north. When Martha Jane and her cousin Harriet heard the soldiers coming, they hid in a beaver dam. But they were captured and forced to walk barefoot from southern Oregon to Grand Ronde. They were 13 and 14. Later, Martha Jane's family homesteaded near Amity, Oregon. Because Indians were not allowed in town, she paddled up the South Yamhill River with her canoe filled with baskets. When she got to the bridge she was not allowed to cross, she pushed the canoe across the river, people from Amity picked out the baskets they wanted, put their money in the canoe, and pushed it back to Martha Jane.
Lookwe – James Buchanan
Itskahaat – David
Tecumtum -- Elk Killer -- was Principal Chief of the Etch-ka-taw-wah band of Athabaskans. He lived on Deer Creek near Selma. After his village was attacked by miners in 1854, he and his people went to live on the Table Rock Reservation, and eventually removed to the Siletz Reservation. His refusal to submit to conquest landed him in the Fort Vancouver Jail in 1858, and later incarcerated in the Presidio in San Francisco. Eventually, he was moved back to the Grand Ronde Reservation where he died in 1864. He is still a legend among native people as a powerful leader who fought for the sovereign rights of native peoples in southwest Oregon.
Gwisgwashan -- Chipmunk Face -- was born in 1835, experienced the Rogue River War as a young woman and walked one of the five Trails of Tears to the Siletz Indian Reservation. She was a highly-skilled storyteller, and one of the last fluent speakers of her native language. In 1906, she was interviewed at Siletz by anthropologist Edward Sapir, and she accompanied linguist John Peabody Harrington to Rogue Valley native sites in 1933. What Sapir and Harrington recorded from her preserved a great deal of the Takelma culture, including the Daldal myth that established Ti'lomikh as the salmon place. Her native village was located north of Grants Pass along Jumpoff Joe Creek. She died in 1934 at age 99.
Eymehetkwat was the last Takelma living in his ancestral home at Ti'lomikh. The stories he told to Molly Orton when she visited in the 1880s became the source for much of what is known about Ti'lomikh and the Sacred Salmon Ceremony. As late as the early 1900s, his neighborhood was called Walker Rancheria by the locals.
Catlandtook – Joe Cook
Molly was born and raised on the Grand Ronde Reservation. In the latter 1800s, she and her husband Steven traveled to southern Oregon and lived in a cabin at Ti'lomikh. Here she met Old Man Walker, perhaps the last Takelma living at the village in his ancestral home. This was on the east bank of the river at what would become known as Walker Rancheria. Molly's cabin was on the west bank, a little downriver. During her year at the village, she learned all about the village and the Sacred Salmon Ceremony from Walker, information she would pass on to linguist John Peabody Harrington when they visited there together in 1933.
Ah Kee Ah Humpy was a Shasta medicine man and hereditary chief born near Humburg along the Klamath River, sometime in the 1850s. His Indian name means one who was carried in a basket from a place where baskets are no longer made. Throughout his long life he rode the range as a ranch hand, but turned to cooking and domestic work after an injury. He died in 1963 -- well over 100 years old -- and is buried in Hornbrook Cemetery. "I have seen a lot of things in my day,' said Sambo, "but I cannot possibly tell you about them all, there were so many."
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