Thomas Doty – Storyteller

Story of My Logo


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Doty & Coyote

I call my performances "Doty & Coyote: Stories from the Native West." Years ago, I created this drawing as a logo for my storytelling.

I first came across the human figure in the 1980s on a boulder along the Columbia River (look closely at the photo). In our native rock writings, the sun halo around his head can mean anything from one who is "outside in the world," to "fully awake" (note the large, open eyes), to an "enlightened being," depending how he is placed on the rock, and how he is used with other symbols.

The placement of his legs straight down (as opposed to one leg out, meaning "starting off") would normally suggest "standing in one place." However, the arms indicate something more is going on. If the meaning was simply "standing in one place," the arms would be down at his side, or even nonexistent. If the meaning was "movement ahead," the arms would be raised above his head. Arms halfway between the two indicates a decision is being made. "Should I follow Coyote on this journey?" One foot slightly raised adds a little dramatic tension to this moment of decision-making. There's a possibility of movement. The angle of his eyes aimed at Coyote suggests he is "looking that way," and seriously considering following Mister Mutt on this adventure. The fingers-mimicking-sunrays on the hand closest to Coyote shows that he is reaching for the light.

Coyote is one version of hundreds of similar designs found throughout Oregon. Tail up, ears listening, legs in motion. Coyote is "moving ahead!"