Mika tum-tum hyass t’kop (oh brother)

Just to bring alive for you one of the uses we talk about the Jargon having–a “token of pioneer identity”, a “badge of Northwesternness”–I give you the following correspondence, nine letters that were published in the Transactions of the [insert a year] Annual Reunion of the Oregon Pioneer Association, prefaced by a great big “Oh, brother” for the whole “your heart is very white” thing.

There’s some decent material here for reading practice.  That remains a crying need, one that I’m trying to address.  (Cf. a thread I participated in on Twitter this week.)

You might notice some really enjoyable humor about the Jargon in these letters.  Many signs, too, of the near-hero worship that was extended to the pioneer generation.

The writer, George Himes “the printer”, published Chinook Jargon dictionaries as well as being the Secretary of the Oregon Pioneer Association.  I don’t think he’s following the CJ spellings suggested in any of them here.  He does look to be using the ol’ “Look, I’m writing Indian stuff” breaking-words-up-with-hyphens-galore trope.

That notwithstanding, this is mostly really “white” Jargon–since he brought that up.  I can expand on that note in a later post on “how to talk like a white guy in Chinook”.  I know there’s been some interest in that subject, and I can demonstrate.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Sent to those who rendered special favors to the Oregon Pioneer Association in connection with the Thirty-fourth Annual Reunion:

1.

Portland, June 22, 1906.
Sanborn-Cutting Packing Company,
Astoria, Or.

Gentlemen:

Tenas ahncutty mika potlatch hyou “Tyee Salmon” kopa hyass ahncutty Boston tillikums.  Yah-ka hyou muck-a-muck June 14.  Yah-ka Boston tillikums kloch nanich okoke salmon, hyass kloshe muck-a-muck.  Yah-ka Boston tillikums–Pioneers–hiyou wa-wa kopa mika; hiyou hee-hee.

Mika tum-tum kopa Pioneers hyass kloshe–mika tum-tum hyass t’kop.  Mercie!  mercie!

Since you may not have an interpreter handy, I give you a free translation of the above:

“A little while ago you gave a good lot of fine King salmon to the old Pioneers for their banquet on June 14. Those Pioneers took a good look at those, salmon, and remembered how good they were when nothing but salmon could be had for food. Those Boston men (all Americans were called “Boston” men, and Englishmen. or employes of the Hudson’s Bay Company were called “King George Men“) talked much about you, and felt very thankful to you for your kindness, and had a good time and much laughter as they recalled their old-time experiences. Your heart towards the Pioneers is very good, and your heart is very white. Thank you! thank you.”

Very truly yours,
GEORGE H. HIMES,
Secretary Oregon Pioneer Association.


2.

Portland, June 22, 1906.
Tahum Moon, Mox Tat-te-lum, Mox Sun.
Tallant-Grant Packing Company, Astoria, Oregon.

Tillikums: Mika tum-tum kopa Pioneers hyass kloshe; mika tum-tum hyass t‘kope; mika potlatch hiyou kloshe salmon kopa ahncutty “Boston men”; yah-ka skookum muck-a-muck, hiyou hee-hee, wake quass. Mercie! mercie! Spose mesika memaloose, nesika tickeh mesika klatawa kopah hyass Sah-hale Illihee. Klaham.

Freely translated: .
“Friends: Your heart towards the Pioneers is very good; your heart is very white; you gave a generous quantity of good salmon to the Pioneers, and they had a big feed, without being afraid of exhausting the supply. Thank you! thank you! When you come to die we wish you safe entrance into heaven. Goodbye.” .

I’ll add no more.

Very truly yours,
GEORGE H. HIMES,
Secretary Oregon Pioneer Association.


3.

Portland, June 22, 1906.
P. J. McGowan & Sons, McGowan, Wash.

Gentlemen: Your kindness in providing a liberal supply of fine salmon for the Pioneer banquet on June 14 is greatly appreciated, and it is with great pleasure that I extend to you the sincere thanks of the Oregon Pioneer Association and the Pioneer Woman’s Auxiliary for the generous and timely gift, which formed a conspicuous feature of the annual feast, which has become so important and interesting a part of the annual reunions. As one old pioneer of 1843 expressed it, “Hiyou Hyass kloshe Salmon! Kah mika iskum? Yah-ka McGowan tillikums kloshe potlatch? Nowitka. Yah-ka tillikums hyass kloshe. Tyee salmon hyass kloshe muck-a-muck. Mika Kumtux?”

Very truly yours,
GEORGE H. HIMES,
Secretary Oregon Pioneer Association.


4.

Portland, June 22, 1906.
Warren Packing Company, Portland, Oregon.

Gentlemen: It is with great pleasure that I convey to you the assurance that the “hyass kloshe potlatch” of a number of “Royal Chinook salmon” by you to the Pioneer Woman’s Auxiliary, having in charge the annual Pioneer banquet, was highly appreciated. For this latest generous act, and for numerous favors in the past, accept the hearty thanks of the Oregon Pioneer Association,

Very truly yours,
GEORGE H. HIMES,
Secretary Oregon Pioneer Association.


5.

Portland, June 22, 1906.
J.K. Megler & Co., Brookfield, Wash.

Gentlemen: For your generous “potlatch” of excellent salmon to the Pioneer Woman’s Auxiliary of Portland, in connection with the banquet for the Thirty—fourth Annual Reunion, held on June 14, please accept my sincere thanks. I’wish I could convey to you the great pleasure that the Pioneers enjoycd in partaking of the kingly fish, which has made the “Columbia River salmon” a household word throughout the earth, thanks to the skill and care shown by those who put them upon the market.
With best wishes for great success in all your enterprise, I remain, sincerely yours, with renewed thanks for present and past favors,

GEORGE H. HIMES,
Secretary Oregon Pioneer Association.


6.

Portland, June 22, 1906.

Pillar Rock Packing Co., Pillar Rock, Washington.

Gentlemen: I take great pleasure in expressing toryou the since thanks of the Pioneers of Oregon for the generous “potlatch” of the kingly salmon to assist the Pioneer Woman’s Auxiliary, Mrs. C. M. Cartwright. chairman, in the preparation of the banquet for the Thirty-fourth Annual Pioneer ‘Reunion, held in this city on June 14. Every Pioneer pronounced it “Hyass kloshe.” and that feature of the banquet brought to their minds memories of the olden time, when frequently they had “salmon straight”—nothing else, not even “pertaties!”

Again thanking you for this and past remembrances, I remain, sincerely yours,

GEORGE H. HIMES,
Secretary Oregon Pioneer Association.


7.

Portland, June 22, 1906.
Ta-hum Moon, Mox Tahtlum Mox Sun, 1906.
James W. Cook, 181 Eleventh Street, Portland, Or.

Ni-ka six: Mi-ka hy-ass kloshe tilakum.  Mi-ka wa-wa hy-ass kloshe delate ko-pa Ty-ee salmon Til-akums, mit-lite ko-pa Skoo-kum Chuck, Astoria, Brookfield, Pillar Rock, McGowan, Poteland.  Mi-ka Cum-tux?  Ol-e Boston Man, mit-lite, mi-ka il-la-hee hy-ass ahn-cut-ty, de-late wa-wa ko-pa mi-ka, mercie!  mercie!  Yah-ka ol-e Boston man wa-wa yah-ka salmon hy-ass kloshe!  Yah-ka ol-e Boston man kloochman wa-wa mi-kah hy-ass kloshe!  wa-wa yah-ka Ty-ee salmon til-a-kums hy-ass kloshe!  wake yah-ka klim-in-whit.  Ni-ka de-late wa-wa ko-pa Mr. Bowers, ko-pa Ty-ee salmon til-a-kums!  Kwan-kwan mi-ka tum-tum hy-as kloshe!  Spose mi-ka wa-wa co-pa ni-ka klat-a-wa co-pa mi-ka ten-as house, Hamilton Building.  Kla-ham.

GEORGE H. HIMES,
Secretary Oregon Pioneer Association.


8.

Portland, June 22, 1906.
Columbia River Packers’ Association, Astoria, Oregon.

Gentlemen: On behalf of the Oregon Pioneer Association, and particularly on behalf of its Woman’s Auxiliary, Mrs. C. M. Cartwright, I desire hereby to convey to you my since thanks for the generous gift of excellent salmon, the “King of Fish,” for the late banquet at the Thirty-Fourth Annual Reunion of the Pioneer Association. In the words of an old pioneer of 1843, whose tongue is paralyzed so that he cannot speak English, yet will do duty when he attempts to speak the Chinook jargon, “Yah-ka Salmon hyass Kloshe.”  

Again thanking you for the past and present favors, I remain, very truly yours,

GEORGE H. HIMES,
Secretary Oregon Pioneer Association.


9.

Portland, June 22, 1906.
Ta-hum Moon, Mox tat-te-lum pe mox sun.
Mr. H.C. Bowers, Manager
Portland Hotel, Portland, Or.

Kloshe Tilikum: Nika tickeh wa-wa de-late ko-pah mi-ka.  Mi-ka mamook hiyou salmon ko-pah mika hyass piah.  Yah-ka hy-ass kloshe muck-a-muck.  Ahncutty Boston tillikum hiyou hyass Kloske wa-wa ko-pah mi-ka.  Ahncutty Boston tillikum wa-wa ko-pah Sah-ha-lee Ty-ee ko-pa mi-kah.  Mercie! mercie!  Quan-ni-sum ahncutty Boston tillikum tickeh skookum muck-a-muck.  Okoke salmon hyass kloshe.  Al-ki mi-ka is-kum hiyou chick-a-min.

Translation:

“Sixth Month, 22d Day, 1906.

“Good friend: I want to have a straight talk with you.  You cooked a large lot of salmon for the Pioneers, and made a good job of it, wherefore the Pioneers said many good words about you, and pray the Great Father’s blessing to rest upon you.  That salmon made excellent food.  Thank you!  Thank you!  All Pioneers like strong food.  The salmon was very good.  All hope bye-and-bye, that you will have a great deal of money.

Thanking you for present and past favors extended to the Pioneer Woman’s Auxiliary, I remain, very truly yours,

GEORGE H. HIMES,
Secretary Oregon Pioneer Association.

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