Thomas Doty – Storyteller
Doty & Coyote: Stories from the Native West
Thomas Doty's one-man performances are steeped in the Native American storytelling traditions of the West. Traditional stories are woven with modern native stories to provide present-day insights into ancient cultures ... a dramatic bridge between the present time and the vibrant Old Time world of Doty's native ancestors.
Doty accompanies his audiences on dramatic journeys into the wondrous world of stories, landscapes and culture. Coyote tags along as well!
Thomas Doty blends his storytelling skills with decades of living his art, and researching, teaching and writing about his native culture. In a formal theatre setting, in a school gymnasium, at a conference or around a campfire, Doty's performances are dynamic and engaging.
Performances can focus on specific topics, including native world view, stories of the Salmon People, stories of Native/European contact time, and more. Performances can also be presented as talks and keynotes.
From the Elders
Many of the traditional stories Thomas Doty shares in his performances were passed along to him by native elders in his family and in the larger native community. Here are profiles of three elders who inspired Doty....
- Grandma Maude. "My grandmother Maude Daugherty was our family storyteller. It was from her that I first heard many of our local native stories. When I was a boy, Grandma would gather us children around the pot-bellied stove and tell us stories. She was a large woman and didn't move around much. But she had a wonderfully rich voice, and different voices for animals in the stories. And her hands were so expressive that they invited stories into the room. They became our friends. Though Grandma journeyed into the next world when I was nine years old, I have never forgotten her stories. And I hear her voices -- all of them -- in my own stories."
- Gwisgwashan (Frances Johnson). "I discovered Gwisgwashan's amazing repertoire of our Takelma stories through conversations with her great niece, my friend Agnes Baker-Pilgrim, and through the works of linguists Edward Sapir and John Peabody Harrington. Gwisgwashan was born in 1835 in her family village in southern Oregon and walked the Takelma Trail of Tears to the Siletz Reservation in 1856. She was the last fluent speaker of our native language. She died in 1934, at age 99. Her Takelma name means Chipmunk Face."
- Chuck Jackson. "I first met met Cow Creek elder Chuck Jackson through my friend John Medicine Horse Kelly in the early 1980s. He lived on his family's traditional native land and carried in his head most of what had survived of Cow Creek and Takelma culture. The three of us sat for hours sharing stories. We talked about the mythology (Daldal, Coyote, Bear) and places (Ti'lomikh, the Table Rocks, the Bear Rock and the cave where Hapkemnas the creator lives). He told us stories of the arrival of Europeans and amazing stories of healing and transformation."
Drawing by Thomas Doty.
Photos by Rogue Valley Community Television,
Jacie Gray & George Freeland.
Website © 1997- by Thomas Doty.