Why Father St. Onge isn’t answering your Chinook letters…
<Rev. L.N. St Onge.> Aias
lili iaka sik Pir Sint Onsh, kakwa
wik kata iaka mamuk pipa kopa msaika.
Iaka yutl tomtom kopa msaika. Tlus
kanawi msaika mamuk hilp iaka kopa
“For a very
long time Pere St. Onge has been ill, which is why
he’s unable to write [back] to you folks.
He’s proud of you. Please
everyone help him with
There’s surprisingly little biographical information to be easily found online about Father St. Onge. But he’s a huge huge figure in Chinuk Wawa history: He was a missionary in the Yakama country in the first half of the 1800s. He made the first Chinook Bible History, a kind of summary of what’s in the Bible. He created a valuable manuscript dictionary. He helped Kamloops Wawa get on its feet. He corresponded in shorthand Chinook with the Aboriginal people of the Kamloops region.
Who is going to write the Wikipedia article on Louis-Napoleon St. Onge O.M.I.?