Thomas Doty – Storyteller

Siskiyou Pass

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Place Names

The Chinese say that calling a place by its right name is a path toward wisdom. In Southern Oregon, some places induced Indians and whites to use similar names ... in different languages, centuries apart.

The Klamath Indian village Gumbat, "Among the Rocks," is now called Rocky Point. One Takelma name for Lower Table Rock is Titanakh, "Rock Above," and the rock still dominates the Rogue Valley landscape. And Latgau, "Knife in Belly," lies at the headwaters of Dead Indian Creek.

There is an ancient Chinese song: "When cutting an ax handle with an ax, surely the model is close at hand." In Southern Oregon, a place name approaching wisdom will surely be apparent.