Thomas Doty – Storyteller

Siskiyou Pass

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These Children, In This Place

On a summer day I walk the mud-and-reed shoreline of Malheur Lake with Northern Paiute children from the Burns reservation.

Half an hour and we arrive at an ancient Paiute village recently exposed by high water wave action. I see grinding stones, firepits, rock circles, the outlines of old time houses, the desert-sun glitter of arrowheads. We each find our niche and contemplate ten thousand years.

One boy stares at a human skull cradled in a water-worn grave, perhaps his great great grandmother's. Ten feet away a porcupine sleeps in the reeds, undisturbed, as if these children, in this place, have always been a part of his world.