Proof of Chinuk Wawa use in brand-new Seattle

This post is short and sweet to create:

New York Markook House

“New York Markook House“, the newspaper advertisement is headlined.  Seattle was originally called New York.  (The more distinctive “New New York” presumably was clunky!)  It was later called Alki, which us Warshington kids were always taught meant “by and by”–that weird phrase was never defined for us.

But what’s great about this ad is that it shows us the use of Chinook Jargon even earlier, right at the start of Seattle’s existence.  Markook House is one spelling of the straight Chinook phrase mákuk-háws for “store, shop”.

This was the first store in what would become King County, Washington.  Charles Terry opened it apparently within 15 days of the first settlers’ landing there in September of 1851.  A year later (September 11, 1852) he was advertising in the Columbian newspaper down in North Oregon’s main town of Olympia, where both non-Native settlement and the Jargon were more firmly established, so that potential customers could be expected to understand and respond favorably to his business name.

Hat tip to Geology Writer for the image that led to this post.  Hayu masi for a great find.  It was already seen as a precious historical artifact by 1924, when George Himes of Portland contributed it to the Washington Historical Quarterly.  It’s only more valuable now.

Here’s an image of a currently operating store that’s also named in Chinuk Wawa.  It’s “Ntsayka Makuk Haws” (our store), the gift shop at the Grand Ronde Tribes’ casino.

ntsayka makuk haws

Advertisements