Mary Moses’s statement

Mary Moses’s Statement.


Fairfield, WA: Ye Galleon, 1988.  (No author or editor credited.)

Another invaluable publication by Glen Adams about Inland Northwest history.  Man, the Ye Galleon catalog must be hundreds of items long!

This one is actually a sort of scrapbook about events relating to the life of Kittitas (Upper Yakima) notable, Mary Moses a.k.a. San-clow, circa 1827-1939.  She was a daughter of Chief Owhi and a sister of the warrior Qualchan.  (Whose mortally wounded fellow fighter Kanasket taunted the US Army in Chinook Jargon.)  Qualchan was summarily hanged by Colonel George Wright one day in September of 1858 south of what’s now Spokane, WA.  She was the wife of Columbia Salish Chief Moses, as in Moses Lake.

Page 8: William Compton Brown interviewed “Old Mary” at Nespelem, WA at a date not specified in the book but seemingly around 1918; he says that his party of visitors

…through the medium of the Chinook language, made known our desires to Mary…She was going to take the trip [to her ancestral home in the Kittitas Valley] alone…and declared it would take her only “three suns”…

An interpreter into Mary’s language was found nearby.

Page 9: “The Indians call Rock Island Rapids Kwar-chen, or Kwa-ar-chen and the people Kwa-ar-chen-nooks.  The added syllable ‘nooks’ meaning about the same as ‘ite’ in English, as Spokanite or Seattllite [sic] as the whites say.  The word ‘pam’ is also used as a suffix to some names in about the same way.”  [I include this passage because the supposed ‘nooks’ looks a whole lot Chinookan ukspreserved in CJ words like pasayuks ‘French’.  The -pam suffix is Yakama Sahaptin. — DDR]

Page 11: “Old Sulk-Stalk-Scosum [Columbia Salish chief] used to go regularly to the buffalo country ‘moas-moas illihee’ east of the Rocky Mountains and he finally lost his life there.  I [Mary Moses] was along at the time.”

Page 17: “Silico-sas-kat was the brother of Poker Joe and old Cockset George, who still lives on the Kahtar [Kartar].”  [George’s Chinook name is spelled variously in many sources; he’s mentioned by Mourning Dove in her autobiography.–DDR]

Page 18: a quote from Manring’s Conquest of the Coeur d’Alenes, page 240, referring to July 30, 1918 at the “home of old Columbia George, who lives on the banks of the Columbia directly across from Barry or Stevenson’s Ferry”:

We found a very old man, but capable of talking and telling his story with some degree of proficiency, even in the Chinook jargon.  We tried to get an interpreter in the real language, but failed…

Another document in this book is a notebook, “Trip with Tommio Kamiakin in 1928”: Page 23: “King George man called him Kamme yah.”

And from J.C. Scott’s article When Chief Moses Ruled, from the February 22, 1934 Washington Farmer: Page 47: “When we see the Indian jog-trotting along the highways or seated on street corners selling his wares, let us not think of him as the humble Siwash, but as the remnant of a great race…”

Page 58: A confusing account of the origin of Chinook Jargon, from More about Chief Moses: Henry Livingstone, the Tonasket Centenarian, Has a Good Word to Say of the Old Chief Who Once Ruled This Section, from the November 23, 1920 issue of the Wenatchee World: “All of the tribes spoke a different language but all of them spoke Chinook language.  This language was originated by a French trader.  The jargon was started by the Americans.  This Chinook language was called “the Boston Wa Wa” because they could consult with all of the Indians in this language.”