“Stalking the Haplocerus in the Selkirks” by W.A. Baillie-Grohman

“Stalking the Haplocerus in the Selkirks” by W.A. Baillie-Grohman. From The English Illustrated Magazine, May 1895, page 127-133.

Stalking the Haplocerus in the Selkirks

This is one of those great old outdoors narratives in a gentlemen’s hunting (&c.) magazine.  It’s about hunting mountain goats in  a part of the Interior Pacific Northwest near mine.  As such it provides some of the scant evidence of Chinook Jargon use among the Kootenay Indians, scanter still here because the writer indicates he knew almost no CJ.  The events recounted seem to have happened in 1882 near and north of Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho.

Some relevant excerpts:

p.130:  “Several of the younger bucks understood Chinook, that hotch-potch of French, English, Spanish, with a good many Indian terms thrown in, which used to assist intercourse between the whites and the numerous tribes of the Pacific slope.”

p.130: “Terms were soon arranged, a dollar a day for him and the same for his “clootchman,” a Chinook term which I did not understand at the time, but which I thought meant a friend or relation.  The start was to be made early next morning and the interval was occupied in re-pitching the canoe and collecting the required simple provisions for the month’s hunt, and in writing a few letters for which there was at present, however, no known means of conveyance, for Fry’s [local trader Fry of “Fry’s ranche”] pack-train to Walla Walla would not be starting for another fortnight or three weeks.  [Paragraph break] It was only as I was about to step into the canoe at dawn next morning that the identity of the “clootchman” was revealed; it was my friend’s squaw!”

p.132: “Long before we reached our goal, a bit of sandy beach a few miles from the end of the lake, shock-headed ‘Darby’ had pointed out to me a prominent peak as the akokle where there were hiyou kianooko–the mountain where there were lots of goats.”  [The writer refers to his Indian guides as ‘Darby and Joan’. Akokle and kianooko must be Kootenay words.]

p.132: “It took us all day to climb less than 4,000 feet, i.e., to reach the rocks beyond timber line, where, just at the outskirts of forest vegetation, we made as skookum (snug) a camp as the somewhat limited level space permitted.”

Advertisements