Thomas Doty – Storyteller

Native Maps

Mapmaker is a character in Thomas Doty's stories who lurks on the edge of a modern Mythtime. He creates original rock writing maps that document native sites and dramatize stories.

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Coyote's Paw


Mapmaker creates a map of the ancient village of Coyote's Paw. Using traditional rock writing symbols, he narrates a walk through the village....

"Starting on the upriver edge of the village, in the east where the sun rises, I walk the Old Time Trail past the girdled Ghost Dance Tree, past the Dance Ring and the Graveyard and through a gap in a Rock Wall.

"Here the trail splits. The right fork leads down the slope along the creek to the banks of the Klamath River. I walk ahead and cross the creek, passing the Community House where stories are told in the winter and Grandmother Pine where stories are told on warm-weather days.

"I walk through a gap in another Rock Wall and into an open place where many Winter Houses stand. From here, looking south, I see Rock Cairns scattered through the woods. I see the Rain Rock, and beyond that the Sweat Lodge. To the west are more Ghost Dance Trees, lined up and pointing west toward the Land of the Dead. I watch a man walk away from the Sweat Lodge. He starts along the trail that zigzags up the slope toward the Vision Quest Peak.

"I walk on down the Old Time Trail, out of the village, downriver toward the setting of the crescent moon."

Larger Map with Key (PDF)

Waiting for Rock Old Woman


At the base of a cliff in the shadow of Sexton Mountain, Mapmaker mixes his paint. Using images the Old Ones would find familiar, and adding a bit of his own creativity, he carefully paints symbols on stone, a rock writing map of the Doty and Coyote story called Waiting for Rock Old Woman. "Here is what happened," he says....

"Below where the trail comes down the mountain from the north, at the ancient creek crossing, we stretch out a leg and start on a journey. We follow the curves of the trail. Many people have made this trek. The path is well-worn. We arrive at a place where the way is blocked. Someone points ahead.

"It is rough-going, the landscape broken up. There are people ahead of us walking together. The path leads to a healing place and continues over the pass and down into the valley. Another path climbs the mountain. We arrive. We look around. The healing place on the summit is gone, all covered up. We are astonished. We make big eyes. We return by the same path."

Larger Map with Key (PDF)

A Journey Upriver


Mapmaker narrates his map he made based on the journey in Upriver to Morning, a new native story by Tish McFadden.

"At open water, they had a fire on the sand and stood in the moonlight.

"Many started on a journey. They walked up the river. Their way became blocked by a rainstorm). They were afraid and had to flee. They found safety in a cave.

"They moved ahead. They walked to a rock. They lived in a winter lodge. Here they ate, they slept, and they told stories for many days and nights .

"Their path became crooked as they went up the hill. The river was in a deep canyon.

"They walked to a place where they gathered and lingered. It was a water place. They became enlightened. They became complete."

Interactive Map with Key (PDF)