The Lord’s Prayer ends with “Kloshe klutchman”?

What looks like a gratuitous sexist insult, “wake klooch kloochman” in my previous post, naturally invites a prayerful response.

Spoiler alert — this gets gratuitous too.

Lord's Prayer in Chinook (2)

The Lord’s Prayer in Chinook

Nisika Papa kla xta mitlite kopa Sah
Our Father who art in Heav-

a le, kloshe mika tyee kopa konaway
en, may you be the chief to all

tila cum; kloshe mika tunetum kopa
people; may your will be good in

sahale; potlache konaway sun nesika
Heaven; give every day our

muckamuck ; pee kopetcumtux konaway
food; and forget all

nesika mam-mook mesachie kopa nesika,
that we do bad to each other,

marsh si ah kopa nesika konaway mesa-
put far from us all bad

chie. Kloshe Kahkwa. Kloshe Klutch-
things.  May it be so.  Good wom-


(Dalles [Oregon] Daily Chronicle, February 22, 1894, page 2, column 1)

In translating this back out of Chinuk Wawa — which has rarely been done — I’ve tried to stick within reason to the flavour of the Lord’s Prayer in English that I grew up with (a Catholic version; it varies from denomination to denomination).  But I’ve assiduously shown what the Chinook version is actually saying.  Why on earth is “Good woman” added to the end?  Is this bizarrely playing on the same insulting expression as “wake klooch kloochman“?

Translation between any two languages is a fraught business, as I learned trying to translate a friend’s novel out of Slovenian after just a couple of semesters of classes!  And I’ve commented elsewhere that translation into Chinook Jargon has its special pitfalls involving the temptation to overuse metaphor and the need to belabor a point.  I can go more into that another day, but if you have dipped your toe into the fluent stream that is Chinook, you’ll have a sense of what I mean.

I thought I should hunt up other publications of the Lord’s Prayer in Chinook, to compare wording and see if they also tack on that “Good woman” bit.

In 1863 George Gibbs tacked a Lord’s Prayer at the end of his Chinook Jargon dictionary:

Nesika papa klaksta mitlite kopa saghalie, kloshe kopa nesika
Our father who stayeth in the above, good in our

tumtnm mika nem; kloshe mika tyee kopa konaway tilikum;
hearts (be) thy name; good thou chief among all people;

kloshe mika tumtum kopa illahie, kahkwa kopa saghalie. Potlatch
good thy will upon earth as in the above. Give

konaway sun nesika muckamuck. Spose nesika mamook masahchie,
every day our food. If we do ill,

wake mika hyas solleks, pe spose klaksta masahchie kopa
(be) not thou very angry, and if any one evil towards

nesika, wake nesika solleks kopa klaska. Mahsh siah kopa
us not we angry towards them. Send away far from

nesika konaway masahchie.
us all evil.

Kloshe kahkwa.
[unglossed by Gibbs: Good thus]

That’s the Lord’s Prayer repeated word-for-word and letter-for-letter in countless later Chinook Jargon guidebooks, Popular Science articles (themselves quoted without attribution by JK Gill), etc.  No “good woman”.

Not listed in JC Pilling’s 1893 bibliography of the Jargon, McCormick’s [Oregon & Washington] Almanac for 1872 seems to contain a version of it, as well as a vocabulary and example sentences, but Google Books isn’t letting me search within it.  Ditto with the Sessional Papers of the Canadian Parliament, 1872.

There was an earlier, independently translated version of this prayer in Modeste Demers’ 1871 “Chinook Dictionary, Catechism, Prayers, and Hymns“.  I haven’t immediately found a way to snip it and drop it into this post, but it starts and ends like this:

NsaIka Papa, SaHali maIka mitlaIt; tlush pus kanowe telikom komtoks maIka nem…
Our father, you are above; may everyone know your name…

…Tlush kwanesom kakwa.
…May it always be so.

So it’s a completely different rendition.

The upshot of my little Sunday drive through the fields of the Lord’s Prayer in Jargon is twofold:

  • The newspaper clipping we started with today is somebody’s independent creation — so it’s a new find in CJ studies!
  • Like a considerable amount of the pioneer-created Chinook, it’s a fairly poor job, interlarded with pointless insults in an attempt at devaluing Native people’s perceived speechways.  Making “Amen” be a pun on “bitch” seems a bit low to me.

We’re blessed to realize this, be it however so late.