Front page of Kamloops Wawa #60

(Translation added 6/29/14 by DDR.  For my comments on the text, see the very end.  Discuss.)  

Thanks to USask and Dr. Keith Thor Carlson for amassing a fine big collection of Kamloops Wawa newspapers, then putting them online at the Indigenous Studies Portal.  If you aren’t familiar with it, ikta pilton maika?

Here you see the front page of issue #60, including what Father Le Jeune liked to call an “Indian calendar”.  Read along! My plan with shorthand stuff like this is to publish a transliteration of it out of shorthand into our alphabet first…then “alki” I’ll publish a translation into English.  Put your questions & suggestions into the Comments section!  (Translation added in italics below — Dave.)

<Stuff in angled brackets–this is already in English alphabet on the original page.>

Kamloops Wawa 60 8Jan1893 USask

<No. 60>                                                                        8 Shan. 1893

8 January 1893

60                                  KAMLUPS WAWA


<II.2.     Kamloops Wawa   8.Jan.1893>

Sha. <8> S.     |    <S>     |     <First Sunday after Epiphany>

Jan. 8 Sunday  |  Sunday  

<9> M.   |   <I>  |  Alta naika nanich naika taii ShK iaka <8> sno;

9th, Monday  |  weekday  |  Now I see my lord Jesus Christ at 8 years old; 

<10> T.     |  <I>  |       chi iaka kilapai kopa Ishipt.  Iaka mitlait kopa

10th, Tuesday  |  weekday  |  he has just returned from Egypt.  He is at 

<11> Wi.     |  <I>  |       Nasarit alta.  Wik kaltash iaka mitlait kakwa

11th, Wednesday  |  weekday  |  Nazareth now.  He isn’t just standing around like 

<12> Tr.     |  <I>  |     ayu tanas man.  ST iaka wawa pus man kwanisim

12th, Thursday  |  weekday  |  so many boys do.  God says for a man to always 

<13> Fr.     |   <I>  |    mamuk kopa ukuk ilihi.  Kakwa iaka ayu mamuk kanawi

13th, Friday  |  weekday  |  work on his land.  So he is working every 

<14> Sat.     |   <I>  |    son.  Iaka krai naika tomtom kopa tlus pus nanich

14th, Saturday  |  weekday  |  day.  It cries, my heart does, in a good way, to see 

<15> S.     |  <S>  |   ST tanas, kopit <8> sno, pi iaka ayu mamuk kanawi

15th, Sunday  |  Sunday  |  God’s child, just 8 years old, when he is working every 

|     son.  Iaka mamuk hilp kopa iaka mama.  Iaka mamuk

|  day.  He helps his mother.  He 

|     hilp kopa Sin Shosif.  Iaka mamuk skul kopa nsaika.

|  helps Saint Joseph.  He teaches us.  

|     Iaka wawa kopa nsaika: Tlus wik kansih msaika

|  He says to us: Don’t you folks ever 

|     kaltash mitlait.  Tlus kwanisim msaika mamuk: kakwa

|  lie around idly.  You folks should always work: that way, 

                 |     msaika tolo sahali ilihi.

                 |  you’ll be win (be rewarded with) heaven.

<When something     |          Pus chi ikta chako kopa

                                                     When a new thing comes in 

new turns up, there are     |     ukuk ilihi, aiak tilikom

this world, right away people 

always people ready to     |      chako tiki ukuk pi hlwima

                                                           come liking it and other 

admire and people ready      |     tilikom ilo tiki.

people don’t like it.  

to blame.       |          Alta ukuk Chinuk pipa

                                    Now this Chinook writing 

Owing to this system     |     chi chako kopa msaika.

                                                      has just come to you folks.  

of writing, we have now      |     Alta ilip kopa <300>

                                                            Now more than 300 

over 300 of our Indians      |     tilikom chako komtaks ikta

                                                              people are learning what 

able to read & write, after      |     iaka wawa ukuk pipa.  Ilo

                                                               it says, this writing.  It wonʹt 

a few weeks, even after      |     aias lili pi klaska chako

                                                           be very long until they have

a few days study.       |     komtaks.


Yet critics are found      |          Pi aiak hlwima tikop

                                                            But right away other, white,

already, ready to blame.>     |     tilikom klaska kaltash wawa.

                                                                 people talk trash.



This is a format that Le Jeune used on many front pages of his Kamloops Wawa.  He would provide an “Indian calendar” showing the days and dates until his next expected issue of the newspaper, with symbols for Sundays versus weekdays.  I’ve seen similar calendars when I was growing up Catholic.

Le Jeune also makes his front page similar in content to a Catholic “missal” by throwing in a relevant meditation on scripture.  Each week of the year traditionally corresponds to some event in Jesus’s life.  That’s why he’s talking here about the return of Jesus’s family from Egypt, where (I looked on Wikipedia!) they had fled from King Herod, who wanted to find and kill the rumored King of the Jews.

The last item on the page is an editorial.  Le Jeune actually spent several issues in a row defending against both Native and white skeptics who attacked his plan of teaching Aboriginal people to read–and using the Chinook shorthand to do so.  His idea all along, which played out well, was to use Jargon and the shorthand as a bridge to English and the Roman alphabet.

A few points about Le Jeune’s Jargon writing here are noteworthy.

    • Le Jeune writes abbreviations for the names of days of the week, and for the month; all are recent loans from English.
    • He also uses the shorthand numerals as well as English (I always wondered why we call them “Arabic”) numerals.
    • He also uses his more usual style of abbreviation, acronyms, for “Jesus Christ” (ShK = Shisyu Kri) and “God” (ST = Sahali Taii).
    • Kaltash mitlait “to be idle” is an idiom corresponding to the better-known kaltash kuli, which was often written “cultus cooley” when borrowed into regional English, where it meant “to get up to no good; to gallivant around”.  (Compare kaltash wawa, seen here, meaning “to talk trash; to denigrate”.)
    • Ayu mamuk is the progressive form of the verb, so instead of literally “much work/work much”, it means “working”.
    • Tolo rarely means “win” in the distinctly evocative BC dialect around Kamloops, where instead it means “earn; be rewarded”.
    • Mamuk skul is the way the people in that area often expressed “teach”, instead of saying “mamuk komtaks” as in other regions.
    • Ukuk ilihi is well established in this dialect as “this world; the Earth”.
    • Tilikom defaults to a meaning of “Native people” in this as in most dialects of Jargon, so Le Jeune doesn’t bother saying “Sawash” in the Jargon version of his editorial.
    • Pipa usually means “writing” rather than concretely “paper” in this dialect.
    • Ilo versus wik:  “ilo” (you might be used to the spelling “halo”) is the generic way to make negatives in this dialect, and “wik” is used in only a handful of phrases, including wik kansih “never”, seen here.
    • Hlwima tilikom ilo tiki really does mean “other people don’t like it”, because as I’ve pointed out in a published paper, Chinook Wawa had one more pronoun than any authority ever noticed.  It’s a zero (an unpronounced pronoun–say that 5 times fast!) and it’s the proper grammar for expressing an inanimate direct object.
    • Word order in intransitive expressions: when there isn’t any direct object (which really really wants to camp out after the verb), the subject can come last in the phrase.  The confusing thing is that a “trace” subject-agreement marker iaka is left behind, right before the verb.  Look at these: Iaka krai naika tomtom… “My heart cries…” (literally “It cries, my heart does…” and ikta iaka wawa ukuk pipa “what this writing says” (literally “what it says this writing”).