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.

Honoring Our Native Ancestors

I am collecting names of Native Americans who visited the ancient Takelma village of Ti'lomikh along the Rogue River in southern Oregon. These will be included here on this website, and eventually at a Names memorial at the village site. These ancestors are gone, but our memories of them -- and their stories -- live on.

So many names of native people have been lost. During the Rogue River War of the 1850s, newspapers often reported the names of Europeans who died, but rarely the names of Indians. In our native world, there is power in names ... in people, communities, sacred places. Here on this page, and at the village of Ti'lomikh, we are bringing that power home.

In some instances, I have found names, but no biographical information, and often, an English first name, but no Indian name. For instance, in an 1878 list of "Heads of Families & Individual Indians" at the Siletz Reservation, there are several Native Americans listed simply as Bill or Bob, John or Jim. For these, I have listed a single entry for each name to represent everyone with that name. These are real people, and deserve their place here! As I discover information about these folks, I'll add it to this page.

If you would like to add a native ancestor to the Ti'lomikh Names Project, send me an e-mail at Include the name, a short bio or story if you have one, and I'll get it done. Also, source material is sometimes sketchy, and often contradictory. If you have additional information, corrections, or suggestions, please let me know. This is a new and ongoing project, and I have started with a few names of ancestors mostly from the mid to late 1800s. I will add names as I find them in my research, but it is my hope that this project evolves into a community effort. I'd love to hear from you!

Since time out of mind, native people have made an annual pilgrimage to Ti'lomikh to celebrate the annual arrival of the spring salmon. In an Old Time myth, Elder Daldal, the giant dragonfly, declared this stretch of the Rogue River as the home of the Sacred Salmon Ceremony.

For centuries, it was the only ceremony for miles around. Everyone came to the falls at Ti'lomikh ... Takelmas, Shastas, Galice Creeks, Applegates, Umpquas, Cow Creeks, Klamaths, Modocs, Tututnis, Tolowas, Karuks, Yuroks, and more! Molly Orton, a Takelma from the Ashland area said, "This was big time, like Fourth of July. This was the time salmon have sore backs."

Many of our ancestors journeyed to Ti'lomikh ... to visit family and friends, to sing, to drum, to dance, to pray for the Salmon People ... to feast! They are with us when we visit the falls.

In the Spirit of Honoring Our Ancestors,