Thomas Doty – Storyteller

Stories & Poems – Contents

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I want to tell a story.
I want to write a poem.
Sometimes the sun and moon
travel together.

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Ancestors and Elders

Doty thanks those who have kept the stories alive for centuries, and he talks about his approach to native storytelling.

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Grandma Maude

Doty remembers listening to his grandmother tell their native stories.

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Grandmother

A poem for grandmothers everywhere.

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Sun and Stories Come into the World Together

In this Old Time story about the power of dreaming, people experience the arrival of sunlight and stories.

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Doty Meets Coyote

In their first story together, Doty the storyteller and Coyote, his canine sidekick, become best friends and journey from their home into the Cascade Mountains. At Lake of the Woods, Doty gives a dramatic campfire telling of a Crater Lake myth, and Doty and Coyote climb to the summit of Mount McLoughlin.

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Crater Lake

A five-part poem about about a sacred lake that is powerful to native people.

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The Woman Loved Trees

In this original native story, a woodcarver comes to terms with the loss of his wife.

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The Truths of Trees

Doty and Coyote travel into the redwoods in search of a tree in a photo from Doty's youth. Encouraged by masterful taunts from his trickster friend, Doty journeys deep into the relationship he and the Old Ones share with the ancient race of Tree People.

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Trek to Table Mountain

Doty and Coyote visit an aging anthropologist who lives in an abandoned fire lookout in the Cascades. The old man describes how he discovered the power of stories he spent a lifetime collecting. As winter settles in, he tells an Old Time myth about the first war when Jackrabbit clearcut the forests.

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Six Grade and Beyond

Doty becomes a writer, and a listener and watcher.

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Breath of the Earth

Doty takes a walk from the Rogue River up Lower Table Rock into the mythic world of the Takelmas. Here he experiences Old Time stories about the great flood, the origin of death, and the power of this sacred place.

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On Younger Daldal's Back

On Lower Table Rock, a short walk in the fog takes Doty and Coyote to the edge.

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Latgawa

In December, Doty takes a five day trek to a winter solstice site in the Cascade Mountains. As he struggles with his desire to live a spiritual life, and the "messy business of the real world getting in the way," his journey becomes a personal vision quest as he is visited by several stories, and, of course, Mister Coyote.

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Dakubetede – In Progress

With Grandma the storyteller as their guide, Doty and Coyote time-travel through the Applegate Valley, experiencing history and myth first-hand.

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Ribs of the Animal

Doty borrows Coyote's buckskin bag of magical masks and makes seasonal treks to the Table Rocks, the center of the Takelma universe, where most anything is possible.

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Coyote and the Eyeball Trick

In this traditional myth set on the marshy shore of Upper Klamath Lake, Badger tricks Coyote who tricks Mole after he is tricked by Crow, until everyone's eyeballs find a home, more or less.

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Following Mister Bear

Doty and Coyote follow Bear into Oregon Caves and discover a magical world of timeless voices and ancient stories.

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Native Woman

Native Woman is on a journey through the Rogue River country to discover herself and explore her native culture.

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All Night Salmon Leap the Falls

Doty and Coyote meet the spirit of the poet called Lampman in an old house in the woods. The three of them walk back through time to participate in the Sacred Salmon Ceremony at Ti'lomikh, an ancient village along the Rogue River.

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The Boy Walked into the Sun, His Father into the Moon

In this traditional story from the Klamath River, a boy leaves his home and grows into a man.

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Waiting for Rock Old Woman

Doty and Coyote wait for the return of the spirit of an Old Time Takelma medicine woman. At an ancient creek crossing, they witness centuries of stories pass by, and then they walk the old Indian trail up Sexton Mountain to the traditional home of Rock Old Woman.

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Voices of the Rock People

Doty and Coyote and an old man journey across the dry lakebed of Fern Ridge Reservoir, following the old course of Coyote Creek. Along the way, they meet Coyote's grandmother, and another Doty and Coyote. The two coyotes act out a story about the Frog People.

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When Animals Talk

Trapped in a museum after hours, Doty and Coyote wander through the night and experience Mythtime in the high desert. They visit the Rollhead Owl People, the Otter People, the Porcupine People, and listen to their stories.

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Porcupine

Doty takes a twilight walk into Juniper Canyon in search of Mister Porcupine.

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Remembering Fire

Along the Illinois River of southern Oregon, in the scorched aftermath of the Biscuit fire, Doty and Coyote meet an old man who tells them stories about fire.

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Journey to the Land of the Dead

In this traditional story from the Klamath River, a husband travels to the Land of the Dead and tries to bring his dead wife home.

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Where Koomookumpts Sleeps

Doty tells a childhood story of his first trek to Koomookumpts' Bed, the home of the Modoc creator.

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Where the Sun and Moon Live

With a mysterious young man as a guide, Doty and Coyote travel underground through lava caves to the center of the Modoc universe. They experience Old Time myths of the sun, moon and stars, witness the supernova of 1054, and visit a sacred solstice site.

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The Day Tule Lake Came Back

Doty and Coyote and Fox Girl join Coyote Old Man, Bear, and Basket Woman on a journey through the Klamath Lake country in search of creation stories.

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At Their Best, Stories Heal

A fourth-grade girl tells a healing story to her classmates.

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Panther and the White Duck Women

In this traditional myth, the White Duck Women travel across the ocean and up the Rogue River in search of Panther. Coyote tries to mess things up.

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Go Gather Seeds and Eat Them

Outside the Ashland Food Co-op, Doty and Coyote listen to an old man tell a story that has them in it. At the height of a wild snowstorm in the Siskiyou Mountains, Doty visits the lodge of the Digging Stick Women, and he listens to Gwisgwashan, the Keeper of Stories, tell an Old Time myth about Panther and his brother Wildcat.

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Long Walk Home

Doty and Coyote are joined by Coyote's grandmother in a walk from the Siletz Indian Reservation to their homeland along the Rogue River. Following a Trail of Tears in reverse, this journey through landscape and time is edged with unsettling revelations.

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The Yellowjackets Steal Coyote's Salmon

Along the Shasta River, the yellowjackets pull a trick on the trickster Coyote, and he chases them to the summit of Mount Shasta.

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Return to the Village

Doty follows a white deer to a cave above the North Umpqua River where he finds Coyote, Bear, and Panther, acting out an Old Time story. Doty joins in.

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Night of Ghosts, Night of Stories

Doty, self-appointed old west wordsmith, and his legendary sidekick, Cowpoke Coyote, arrive by stagecoach at the Rock Point Hotel, along the Rogue River. Among trees and tombstones, a green fog forms in the nearby cemetery. Doty and Coyote step through the door and into a spooky night of stories.

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Five Nights at Medicine Rock

Guided by Mister Coyote, Doty journeys into the high country in search of an Old Time vision quest site on a ridge above the Rogue River. This story chronicles the native history of the rock through five nights of dreams, from the Rock People to a contemporary museum exhibit.

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The Snake

An ancient story about friendship from the southern Oregon coast.

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We Who Watch the River

Doty and Coyote journey up the Columbia River. Coyote has numerous adventures. He meets a man with no mouth, and Tsagiglalal (She Who Watches), and The Old Man of the Dalles. For a brief while, he becomes the Sun's assistant, before Doty and Coyote return to the mouth of the river.

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Story Tree at Kilchis Point

Doty searches for a legendary tree where stories are stored. He meets a menagerie of characters ... South Wind, Wild Woman, Ice Man, Bashō and, of course, Coyote. During a Mythtime moment, the tree receives a native story.

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The Storyteller of Buckhorn Springs

On the winter solstice, Doty and Coyote and Fox Girl meet Gwisgwashan and her storyteller friends at Buckhorn Springs in southern Oregon. One night, everyone gathers in front of the fire in the lodge, and act out the story of this sacred place of healing.

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The Sun Rolls North and South

A traditional solstice story from the southern Oregon coast.

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My Circle

Doty's poem about being a native storyteller.

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John Beeson's Ghost

During the Rogue Indian War of the 1850s, John Beeson stood up for the rights of Indians. He was driven from his home by death threats, eventually becoming a national voice for native rights. On a quest to discover the peace-loving spirit of Beeson, Doty visits Beeson's grave in Stearns Cemetery. At night. Under a full moon. With Coyote lurking in the shadows. and he waits for "something unusual to happen."

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Words at the End of a Storytelling

What the storyteller says when the stories are over.