From Copenhagen to Okanogan, part 4

[Final installment.  See previous episodes for more info on this fascinating pioneer memoir…life in the Okanogan Highlands of Washington State, 1880s-1930s.  Most of what I’ve excerpted in this blog happened in the last two decades of the 19th century.

Click on the image for a local newspaper article about the author, U.E. Fries.]

Page 199-202:  ‘On my way from my home to Malott I passed the Chiliwist Indian camp, located where Chiliwist Creek flows into the Okanogan River…the Indians, including [Methow] George, asked me if I intended to go to Winthrop with the mail.  I said that I did.  They all urged me not to go and warned, pointing to their chins, that the snow on top of the mountains was “hiyu” deep.  They told me that my horse and I would “memaloose” (die) and “pee mika halo takee klatawa” (you should never attempt the trip)…When George saw how my horse acted, and that I was unable to force the animal to climb the mountain, he said in a very disgusted voice, “Kuitan halo takee klatawa, pe keelapy.”  (The horse will not travel, we must go back.)…I told him, “Nika takee klatawa kopa Methow.”  (I am going to the Methow.)  “How?”  “I’ll show you…”  The Indian, again losing courage, repeated “Kuitan halo takee klatawa kopa Methow.”  (The horse will not go to Methow.)…George asked, “Are we going to stop and have muck-a-muck when we come to your camp?”…we soon reached his cabin…He invited me to come in to warm myself, have some food, and get some “tipso” (hay) for my horses.’

Page 209-211:  ‘In a week or two an Indian named Timentwa Jim came riding to my place on a large, good-looking three-year-old gelding.  He wanted to know if I had a mare that “kumtux mamook kopa chik-chik” (understood to work on a wagon)…The next day Timentwa Jim came to my place to say that he was “hiy sick tumtum” over his trade and thought I should return the moccasins and gloves because, “Susie halo hiyu skookum, kopet tenas skookum, pee tenas mamook, pee halo hiyu mamook.”  (She was not real good, only a little good, she would pull a little but not a whole lot.)…I told him that the horse he had traded me was not even “tenas skookum.”  Instead, he was “hiyu kultus“; he got tired and lay down in the mountains, and I had to walk to Winthrop because the horse “wake siah memaloose” (was very near dead).  I told him that I would not give up the gloves and moccasins, but that he should turn his horse loose and come in and have “muck-a-muck“.’

Page 215:  ‘When Anton and I were cutting wood along the Columbia, we became interested in the “China ditches” we found, unused for many years, but still in good condition.  We were told that they had been dug during the sixties and seventies.’  [Notes about Chinese mining and agriculture at various places in the area follow.]

Page 226-227:  ‘A participant in one fight was my good friend, Timentwa Jim.  He…nearly had his windpipe severed.  Some time after the fight, I met him on the trail.  He was looking pretty “peaked,” but, he informed me, pointing to his throat, “Pee hiyu kultus knoshe pee wind chahco kopa yawa!”  (It is very bad when wind come out there.)  Then he pointed to his mouth:  “Pee hyas kloshe pee wind chahco kopa yawa!”  (It is all right when wind comes out there.)’

Page 234:  ‘Silver was hardly a town.  At first it consisted simply of “Chickamin” Stone’s trading post, the first in the Methow Valley.’

Page 248:  ‘I still had my Chinook jargon dictionary, my arithmetic, and my English-Danish book, “A Hundred Hours with English,” which Mother had sent to me while I was in Illinois.  For these, and [wife] Anna’s books, I built a bookcase–seven shelves, four feet long–which was also used as a whatnot.”

Page 280:  ‘[Little] Nick [Faha]’s horse, Tenas (Indian for little), was very nimble and swift, and it was at once suggested that he try to drive the sow back.’  [Faha ‘was a typical German bachelor’–ibid.]

Page 293:  ‘A saloon called the Tumwater was the hangout for toughs.’

[In chapter 26, “Indians”]:

Page 297:  ‘They did not know the meaning of the word “Indian,” and they spoke of themselves as “Siwash.”  They had only one given name, such as Peter, George, or John, and their other names were taken from some creek or river or lake by which they lived, or from some marked physical characteristic such as their size, or from some deformity…To my way of thinking, one of the noblest Indians of those far-off days was Kokshut George…Once, when he was breaking a wild horse, the animal fell on him, fracturing his leg above the knee.  As there was at that time no doctor in the country to set it, the injured leg healed two inches shorter than the other.  “Kokshut” means broken or crippled, and this name, applied to him in his youth, became the one by which he was known in later years.’

Page 298-299:  ‘ “Are you the man that Storeman Lumsden said owned the buckskin ‘kuitan‘ (horse) that I branded?” [asked Kokshut George to U.E. Fries.]…”Early this morning I rode over the range.  I saw one buckskin horse that has”–here he marked the “L” [shape of the brand] with his index finger on his left shoulder.  “Buckskin horse had my brand here”–patting his right shoulder.  “When I branded horses this spring, I saw buckskin horse and I did not see brand.[“]  He patted his shoulder again.  “I thought buckskin horse my horse and I thought maybe all right if I brand buckskin horse, and George branded buckskin horse.  Today I saw buckskin horse is not Gorge’s horse.  Buckskin horse your horse.  You go catch him buckskin horse.” ‘

Page 299-300: ‘I asked him [Methow George, Fries’ companion in carrying mail through the snow], “When you were a ‘tenas‘ (little) man, were you ever a bad boy?”  “Oh,” (here he hesitated), “tenas kultus” (little bad).  “Did you use cuss words?”  “Oh, halo, halo, Siwash halo cuss.”  (Oh, no, no, Indians never cuss).[“]  “Do you mean to tell me that when an Indian gets mad, he halo cuss?”  “We have no cuss words in the Siwash language.  If Siwash gets mad, he uses ‘sollex wawa‘ ” (angry words).  “If you did not cuss, what did you do to make you tenas kultus?”  “Oh, different things.”  “Did your papa ever give you a whipping when you were tenas kultus?”  “Oh, halo, halo.  Siwash halo mamook whip tenas man, pee tenas man halo kumtux, Siwash wawa kopa tenas man.  Pee tenas man kumtux, pee chahco hyas kloshe.”  (No, no, Indian not whip little man.  If little man does not understand, Indian talk to his little man.  If little man understand he will be good.)  Then George asked me:  “Were you ever ‘tenas kultus‘ when you were a little man?”  When I admitted that I was, he asked, “Did your papa ever give you a whipping when you were a little boy and did not understand?”  I told him my father whipped me a couple of times.  Very gravely commented: “I believe your papa was a very bad man for whipping you when you were a little man and did not understand.” ‘  [This entire exchange must have been in CJ.–DDR]

Page 300-301:  ‘From a gunny sack she [Jenny, Methow George’s wife] took a double handful of dried olallies or serviceberries, and a handful of rockrose roots [bitterroot].’

Page 302:  ‘As I left to hurry on to Silver, I told George that he was a “kloshe tillicum” (very good friend), which served for thanks for the meal…Later in the spring I met Methow George again…[George said,] “Nika klatawa kopa storeman kopa Winthrop.”  (I am going to the storeman at Winthrop.[)]  “For to iskum muck-a-muck?” (to get groceries?) ‘  [Note this word, storeman, being used by multiple people in local Jargon–DDR]

Page 302-305:  ‘A much different Indian, and perhaps a more picturesque one, was Captain Jim, with whom I became acquainted while I was carrying the mail.  Just before I started on the mail route, a tall Indian came to my house and walked right in without knocking, as was the Indian custom.  “Hello, white man.  I am Captain Jim.  I no speak Chinook.  Me all same white man.  Me scout for General Crooker long time ago.  Him big fighter, me help him.  Me killum two Indians.  Siwash no like me.  Me no care.  Me white manYou got squaw?”  “No, I have a white wife–she is in the kitchen.”  “Me got two squaws.  Priest not like me got two squaws.  Me no care.”  “I agree with the priest.  You are not like white man if you have two squaws.  I think you’d better get rid of one.”  “One squaw not enough.  They do lots work.”  “Where are they?”  “Down on Okanogan River.  Chiliwist Indians no have me.  Call me killer.  Call me ‘kultus.’  You got traps to catch ground hogs?“…I found out later that the Indians called him Kultus Jim, or Bad Jim, because he bragged about having killed two Indians and because he kept two squaws after Father de Rouge forbade polygamy…Next day Jim and his two squaws, Big Milly and Tenas Mary, arrived riding their ponies, their two dogs following…The [groundhog] flesh which was on the hide she [Milly] rolled up and tied with a willow-bark string, placing it aside with five similar parcels…”What are you going to do with these rolls, Jim?” I asked.  “Them my beef.  By and by eat ’em.” …I did not see Jim that summer or fall, but when winter began, he was in the Methow Valley…”Where have you been, Jim?” I asked.  “White man Fulton killum black steer.  Me get entrails.  Me go up yesterday.  Today me go home.”  Jim seemed proud of his find and spoke of it as good “beef.” ‘

Page 306-308:  ‘It was a cold day, and I dismounted in front of the tepee.  The Indians called them “sail-houses” when talking to the white men…Without any warning, Indian-fashion, I pulled the canvas flap of the tepee to one side and walked in.  The Indian [inside, Big Wilson] and I greeted each other with the usual salutation, “Tillicum,” meaning friend, after which I told him my business.  He consented to bring in the horse for two dollars–if he found it…Big Wilson and his squaw had company–an Indian called Chiliwist Charlie and his klootchman (wife) and another squaw called Big Sophie.  Although the men, when talking their own language [probably Moses-Columbia Salish], speak rather fast and firmly, the women talk very slowly and in a throaty tone.  I have known only a few squaws who spoke the Chinook fluently.’

Page 309:  ‘Later, in March, [Fries stumbles across Big Wilson’s wife, Big Sophie and another Native woman naked on their way to the sweathouse, which he can barely believe they all three fit into]…I mentioned the matter to Big Wilson later, and he laughed and said, “Pe nika kumtux.  Pe delate hiyu skookum.”  (I knew all about it.  It is immensely good for keeping healthy.)’

Page 310:  ‘There is no name for the backboard [cradle board] in Chinook jargon, but in the language of the Okanogan Indians it is called “Mo-whel.” ‘  [Because Fries spoke CJ with the Indians, this word must have been in use locally in the Jargon.  Compare “whe-e-w” below and elsewhere in the book.–DDR]

Page 311:  ‘…I was accompanied as far as the Methow River by Chiliwist Sam…I asked him if he thought Loop Loop Jim was bad for killing him [Poka Mika].  “Halo, halo, konaway siwash pee tumtum Loop Loop Jim hyas kloshe man, pee Poka Mika hiyu kultus man, pee Loop Loop Jim memaloose Poka Mika, pee tumtum hyas kloshe.”  (No, no, all Indians think Loop Loop Jim is a very good man, but Poka Mika was a very bad man.  When Loop Loop Jim killed Poka Mika we think that was all right.)’

Page 312:  ‘In 1888 while Poka Billy was camped on the Methow River, he was visited by an old prospector known as Chickamin Stone, meaning, “Money” Stone, because he kept and sold a small supply of goods which were considered necessities by both Indians and whites.’

Page 313:  ‘…Loop Loop Jim pointed to his breast and said “broke bone,” then pointed to his head, and said, “broke head a lot.” ‘

Page 314:  ‘Anton held the pole and we started killing them [seven young magpies], not hearing the approach of an old Indian on horseback.  He rode up close and began scolding:  “Mika hiyu kultus Boston.  Delate hiyu mesachee Boston.”  (You very bad white men.  You truly very cruel white men.)’

Page 314:  ‘I was riding along with Timentwa Jim.  All at once we noticed a pretty little blue-striped lizard.  [The western blue-tailed skink matches this account.–DDR]  Jim jumped off his horse and gently put his foot on it, causing its tail to drop off.  He took the tail and carefully wrapped it in a handkerchief, and there was a look of great satisfaction on his face.  “Jim, what do you want with that?” I asked…”The tail is ‘hiyu skookum.’  When I play cards I rub my hands with it and then I get good cards and win lots of money.” ‘

Page 315:  ‘I asked her [a Native woman Fries has come across digging roots] about the plant.  She told me it was “hiyu skookum muck-a-muck[“] (very good to eat).’

Page 315:  ‘This Indian was known as Chiliwist Charlie since he lived on the creek of that name, and he had taken Charlie for his “Boston” or white man’s name.  [One’s ‘name to the white man’ is a concept also mentioned several times in nearby Kamloops Chinuk Wawa.–DDR]   His family consisted of his wife, his son Maselle [Michel?], and a daughter…He loved his pipe and tobacco, and when he could not get tobacco, he smoked the leaves of the kinnikinnick, a low-growing shrub found up in the mountains.’

Page 316:  ‘Charlie told me that a long time ago the Indians used to make pipes from this stone [a soft blue slate clay from Pipestone Canyon off the Methow Valley] and gathered kinnikinnick to take “hiyu siah” (long ways off, meaning to Montana) to trade to other Indians for buffalo hides.  Buffalo hide made better moccasins than deerskin because it turned the water better, and did not get soft in bad weather.’

Page 316:  ‘Many of the Indians had never heard of surveying.  So, when the “linemen,” as the Indians called the surveyors, started to climb over Charlie’s fence to get to the river, Charlie and a number of other Indians met them.  Charlie forbade them to cross any part of his “illahee,” saying that not only his papa but his papa’s papa had lived on that land until he died.  He said he would die fighting before he would give the white man a chance to “mamook lines kopa nika illehee” (make lines on my land).’

Page 317:  ‘In the early days it was not unusual for very old Indians to get the notion that they wanted to die so that their spirits might go to a better world to the “Hyas Tyee Kopa Sahalee” (Big Chief in Heaven above), where all kinds of good hunting would be found.’

Page 317:  ‘While traveling, winter or summer, papooses were wrapped in a blanket, strapped to a board or fancy slab of wood, and carried on the saddle horn.’

Page 317-318:  ‘One old Indian, whose Boston name was Captain Joe, decided to die along [sic] in the winter of 1893…He lived that way for fourteen days and then his “whe-e-w klatawa kopa sahalee” (soul went to the realm above).’

Page 319:  ‘I said, “You will have to speak to me in Chinook, and you will have to talk louder.”  Looking straight ahead, she [a Native woman Fries has come across while on his mail route] began in a loud wailing voice: “Klone sun pee nika halo iskum muck-a-muck pee okoke sun nika hiyu-u-u-u tikeh muck-a-muck.”  (For three days I have not got to eat, and today I lo-o-ng to eat.)  She was expressing her near starvation as strongly as the Chinook allowed.  Then she went on to offer “potlatch moosum kopa mika.”  In plain language she was proposing to sell herself to me for ten cents…I told her I would give her “tenas chickamin” instead.’

Page 326-327:  ‘The complete story of the Indian scare of 1891 cannot be understood without some knowledge of Pokamiakin, the Wild Coyote, or Puk-puk-mika, which means “I fight you.”  [Apparently a Jargon folk etymology of thiis man’s Native name.–DDR]  According to all reports, he lived up to his name, for he was feared by the Indians as well as by the whites…As the officer came near the Indian [P.], Pokamiakin got the drop on him with his gun and said, “Mika hyas klatawa” (You move on in a hurry)…During the excitement which followed, Pokamiakin’s klootchman stripped to her waist and gave a war dance.’

Page 328-329:  ‘According to [‘Indian’] Johnny, they demanded tobacco and “chickamin” (money) from Mr. Cole.’

Page 344:  ‘The natural and favorite food of the bear is the berry known as the “olallie” by the Indians, and what is generally called, by white people, the “serviceberry”.’  [That’s saskatoons, for Canadians.–DDR]

Page 356:  ‘We had rounded up these horses on the Bill Eickmann place on the Chiliwist.  An Indian there saw how poor they were.  “Okkuk cuitans hiu poor.  Spose potlatch hiu tipso, konaway pe memaloose,” he said.  (Those horses are awfully poor.  If you give them a lot of hay, they will all die.)  He then placed his two thumbs and pointed fingers together, expanded them, and held both hands up in front of my face and Tom’s [Tom Junkins, a neighbour], saying, “Spose potlatch caquaw tipso, pe halo memaloose.”  (Give them a little hay and they will not die.)’

Page 372:  ‘When she [Big Mary] reached the old site of Swansea, where Joe’s [Joe Ives’] body was afterward found, she heard “hiyu solex wawa” (angry words) which she took for “siwash wawa” (Indian talk).’

Page 377: She [a young Native woman] dismounted and began to weep, still holding the two horses.  I walked over and asked her why she was “sick-tumtum” (sorry).  She turned to show me the saddle on the horse she was leading, saying, “Nanich, hiyu liplip [sic]”  (Look, a lot of blood.)..She had started out to look for them [her husband and his horse], and had found the horse “tenas siah” (close by), but not him…I told her my brother had seen the two bucks and the squaw, and that I knew that three riders had stopped “kopit tenas siah” (right near by)…At first she was so overcome that she would not talk, but finally quieted down and pointing to the road, said, “Nika man memaloose.”  (My man is dead.)..She asked us if we would take the body and haul it to Ruby to the “Boston tyee” (American chief)…She [another Native woman] did not look towards the widowed squaw on her horse near by, but came close to the wagon, looked at the dead Indian, and said firmly, “Okoke man pe nika ow.”  (That man is my younger brother.)…She raised her hand above her head nad then fired two shots in the air, saying, “Okoke man memaloose nika ow.” (That man killed my younger brother.)’

Page 380-381:  “When we were ready to disperse, she [the dead man’s sister] spoke up, “Mika hyas kloshe Boston man.  Mika konaway nika tillicum.  So long.”  (You are good Americans.  You are all my friends.  Good-by.)’

Page 407:  ‘ “What were you hunting?”  This question was a “stemwinder” and John [Banks, one of very few black people in the area], after more stuttering finally roared out, “Chickens!”  The judge and all present exploded with laughter.  Order was at last restored, and the merciless lawyer continued, “What kind of chickens?”  “Indian chickens,” he yelled.  Laughter again broke out, for his answer might be construed to mean either prairie chickens or Indian women.’

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