Thomas Doty – Storyteller

Programs & Projects


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  • Over 25,000 programs for diverse audiences and organizations, 1981-present.
  • Father-Daughter performances with Irina Doty, 1988-2001.
  • Statewide Oregon Arts in Education Program, 1981-1990.


  • Upriver to Morning. Cultural Consultant and Editor for a book and education program by Tish McFadden, based on the teachings and wisdoms of Takelma elder, Agnes Baker-Pilgrim. 2016-Present.
  • John Beeson - Man of Peace. A cycle of stories about Oregon's first civil rights leader in the 1800s performed in communities throughout Oregon. The original story, John Beeson's Ghost, was commissioned in 2001 by the Talent Historical Society and Museum (Talent, OR). Stories were added to create this performance piece, with additional funding by the Farnley Tyas Foundation (Ashland, OR), James Lobsenz (Ashland, OR), and Irmgard Mikula (Gold Hill, OR). 2015-2016.
  • The Ti'lomikh Project. Doty provided the research and writing to create interpretive signs on site and provide cultural information to support the Sacred Salmon Ceremony and other native events at the ancient Takelma village site of Ti'lomikh near Gold Hill, Oregon. Funding for Doty's research was provided by the Robert M. Stafrin fund of the Oregon Community Foundation. Fall, 2015.
  • Reading the Rocks Project. Since 1986, co-director and co-founder with Roy Phillips of Burns, Oregon. Interpretation, preservation and perpetuation of native pictographs and petroglyphs.
  • CIRCLE. Doty served on the international Board of Directors of CIRCLE, the Centre for Indigenous Research, Culture, Language and Education located at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He is currently an advisor, 2006-Present.
  • Native Peace Tile. Designed a tile for the Peace Wall in downtown Ashland, Oregon. The tile uses traditional rock writing symbols to portray the message, "From Conflict and War to Peace and Healing." The wall was dedicated in September, 2010.
  • Takelma Language Project. Native language research with linguists John Michael Greer and Dr. John M.H. Kelly, 2006-2009.
  • Bear Rock. Doty provided cultural information to members of the native community so that Bear Rock could be moved back to its original location on Lower Table Rock in southern Oregon. Bear Rock is sacred to the Takelma people. He is an image of Great Bear in the Sky who perpetuates the seasons with his circle dance. Bear Rock was put "back in balance" on May 16, 2009. A native ceremony accompanied the event.
  • Medicine Rock Project. During the summer and fall of 2008, Thomas Doty and Roy Phillips worked with the Talent Historical Society, and Desi Brown of Desiesque Designs to create the Medicine Rock Exhibit, patterned after a portion of the Medicine Rock site. The new rock was installed at the entrance to the society's museum in Talent, Oregon. The Meyer Memorial Trust funded the project which includes the rock replica, an accompanying exhibit of photos and text, a new story about Medicine Rock by Doty and a public presentation on rock writings by Phillips. The exhibit was dedicated on October 18, 2008 and blessed by Agnes Baker Pilgrim.
  • Sacred Salmon Ceremony Worked with Takelma elder Agnes Baker Pilgrim to bring the ancient ceremony home to Ti'lomikh, an ancient village along the Rogue River in southern Oregon. June, 2007.
  • Eme'tek!iyikíkh (We Are Here) Featured speaker and on the planning committee for native sculpture installed in downtown Ashland, Oregon, September, 2006.
  • Planetarium Programs. Native Sky Stories at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum in Ashland, Oregon (2005), and at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, Oregon (1980s).
  • Native Story Theatre. As Storyteller in Residence at The High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, Doty directed the museum's Teen Drama Troupe in productions of his native plays. 2002-2003.
  • Two Sisters, Two Brothers, and a Journey. Doty directed the premiere of his full length play that opened November 15, 2001 at the Rose Street Theatre in Phoenix, Oregon. Opening night included a blessing by Takelma elder Agnes Baker Pilgrim.
  • Ribs of the Animal: Stories from the Rogue River. Summer project with Irina Doty, composer Paul Nash, playwright and director Joshua Heuertz in association with the Italian Futurist Theatre Company of Ashland, Oregon. Created and produced a storytelling and theatre performance that opened in October, 1999.
  • Martin Luther King Day. 1990-1995 & 2001, performer and assistant stage manager for Ashland's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration, sponsored by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the City of Ashland, the Ashland School District and Southern Oregon University.
  • Water Under the Bridge. Co-produced with Dorothy Ormes. Performances of storytelling and music to benefit the restoration of Lithia Park after the 1997 flood in Ashland, Oregon.
  • Dancing Through Dreamtime: Storytelling & Dance Inspired by NW Myths. Three summer-long projects sponsored by the University of Minnesota and Southern Oregon University, 1992 (in OR), 1993 (in OR) and 1995 (in MN). Doty was co-director, writer and performer with choreographer Marge Maddux, storyteller and dancer Irina Doty, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Minnesota dancers.
  • The International Folklore Project. Co-director and co-founder with Tish McFadden. Produced 120 living folklore concerts of storytelling and music, in cooperation with Northwest Nature Shop of Ashland, Oregon, 1994-1997.
  • Storytelling Programs. Taught storytelling skills to tribal members of the Siletz, Cow Creek and Burns Paiute tribes of Oregon. 1990s.
  • Daedalus Project. Performed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Daedalus Project, a benefit for AIDS patients, 1992-1995.
  • Stories From Home. Conducted oral history projects in the Oregon communities of Talent, Pinehurst and Vernonia. 1990s.
  • Interpretive Programs. Trained Park Rangers at Crater Lake National Park and Lava Beds National Monument. 1980s.
  • Outdoor Education. Developed Native Studies curriculum for Resident Outdoor Schools in southern Oregon schools. 1980s.
  • Corporate Storytelling. Taught storytelling and oral communication skills to employees at Floating Point Systems in Beaverton, Oregon and Tektronix in Wilsonville, Oregon. 1980s.
  • Academy. Helped start the Academy Program for Talented and Gifted Students at Southern Oregon University in 1981, and has performed and taught several summers with the program.