Thomas Doty – Storyteller


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Making the Salmon Place

In the mist of Mythtime, Big Crooked Nose, Big Nosed Daldal, and Long Nosed Coyote all met up at Ti'lomikh, along the Rogue River. Here's how it happened....

In a Takelma myth, the Daldal brothers were giant dragonflies who traveled upriver from the mouth of the Rogue to make the world ready for the arrival of the Human People. At the end of their journey, they became the two Table Rocks, the center of the Takelma universe.

Younger Daldal was a trouble maker, too much of a bad boy for his own good, and always challenging his older brother, "Hey, Big Nosed Daldal, sit there if you want to, I'm going to go have fun!" Then a few minutes later, he cried out, "Oh, Elder Brother, come and help me!"

When the brothers arrived at Ti'lomikh, they found Long Nosed Coyote fishing for salmon. But each time he pulled his net out of the river, it was filled with mice or rabbits or gophers. Big Nosed Daldal laughed and told Coyote, "You dog of a dog! The salmon are not for you. People will come here to fish, and to honor the Salmon People. And you, Coyote, you will eat mice and rabbits and gophers as long as the world goes on. The People are coming soon!"

Coyote went upriver, poking his nose into holes, sniffing for someone to eat, and thinking that someday he was going to change all that.

At Ti'lomikh, the Human People named Chinook the Big Chief among the Fish People, the Swimmers. Though the Takelmas caught other fish in the Rogue, including Steelhead ("Yols") and Silverside ("Alk"), the Chinook run in the spring inspired the Sacred Salmon Ceremony, with more than a little help from the Daldal brothers. In Takelma, Chinook is called Domxa'u or Tomxaw, which means "Big Crooked Nose."

Since that legendary meeting in the mist of Mythtime, when Big Nosed Daldal made Ti'lomikh the salmon place, we still honor Big Crooked Nose. And Long Nosed Coyote is still poking his nose into stuff, all up and down the Rogue River.