Mocking Haida song lyrics in Chinuk Wawa
A Haida mocking song in Chinook Jargon.
From Rolf Knight, “Indians at Work: An Informal History of Native Labour in British Columbia 1858-1930“.
An aside about Haida fishermen and cannery workers who journeyed to work at Port
Essington comes from Charles Harrison‘s reminiscences. Harrison was a one-time
missionary among the Haida who later became a settler in the Masset area. His sometimes
far-fetched but occasionally earthy memoirs mention the Haida’s disdain for lesser mortals,
as conveyed in a humorous saying making the rounds in the 1880s or 1890s.
“The Haidas seemed to ridicule the idea of intermarriage with the Zimsheans [Tsimshians] and in the
Chinoo[k] jargon used to sing ‘Kwansun Kakkwau Spukshoot Illahe Kluska marry tenas
sun, Kluska[ ]marsh Sitkum[ ]sun’
Spukshoot Illahe is now known as Port Essington. A Zimshean clan lived there and do
now, so the song in English said,‘Always the same at Port Essington[,] They marry in the morning and are divorced at noon.’ (Cited in Lillard, C. 1984:158)
Look like good Chinook Jargon to me (Dave). I’d like to hear it sung!