Story of the Origin of the Salmon Ceremony at Ti’lomikh
One day at the beginning of time, Daldal the Dragonfly saw human bodies floating down the Rogue River. Their arms and legs were cut off. He decided to do something about it and began to travel up the river. Someone told him, “This is happening at Ti’lomikh.”
Daldal took a bow and shot an arrow straight up in the air. It came down directly upon him, splitting him in two. Now he had a younger brother, and together they traveled up the river transforming the world.
The brothers became strong by wrestling with trees — tall firs, stout oaks, and sinewy madrones. When they met people making trouble, they changed them into a part of the world that we know today — fresh water mussels, deer sinew, salmon spear shafts, and more … even the echo, the evening star, and the morning star.
When they finally came to the falls at Ti’lomikh, Daldal told the people, “Here, salmon will always be caught. People shall catch salmon and share the food … feeding one another, not killing each other. In that way the world should be, as long as the world goes on.”
Their work completed, the Daldal brothers transformed themselves into Upper and Lower Table Rocks. And there they stand today, waiting for us to remember.
Note: This story is based on the translation published by linguist Edward Sapir in his Takelma Texts, “Daldal as Transformer” (pp. 21-42), summarized by R. Brothers. Agnes Baker Pilgrim’s great aunt, Frances Johnson, told the story to Sapir in 1906. This was fifty years after the salmon ceremony at Ti’lomikh suddenly ended in 1856, when Rogue Valley indigenous peoples were marched north and relocated to reservations at Siletz and Grand Ronde near Salem.
This story confirms that sharing salmon is a foundation of Takelma culture. 101 years after this story was told by Frances Johnson, her grand-niece brought the salmon ceremony back to Ti’lomikh on the Rogue River near Gold Hill.
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Since June, 2008, the text above has been distributed on the back of a 1/2 page flier, and copies are still available.
Agnes Baker Pilgrim Fund
596 Helman, Ashland, OR 97520
Mission: support Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim in her spiritual work
Goals: pay Grandmother’s rent for her house in Grants Pass ($650 per month)
educate the public about Grandmother’s spiritual work via the website
How you can help:
– send a donation to the Agnes Baker Pilgrim Fund
c/o Julie Norman, 596 Helman, Ashland, OR, 97520
– make an online donation via PayPal from Grandmother’s website
For more information, visit Agnes’ website: www.agnesbakerpilgrim.org
Julie Norman and Robert Brothers