Life among the Inuit, in Chinuk Wawa
I promised this when I showed you “Life among the Crees, in Chinuk Wawa“, and I deliver.
Visiting Kamloops Indian Reserve, Monsignor Grouard OMI of Athabasca is lecturing about his business trips.
Now he tells about the people of the far North, deliberately exoticizing them to encourage the Secwepemc to feel superior:
Ilip saia kopa kanawi tilikom mitlait Iskimo
Beyond all (other) people live the Eskimo
tilikom: aias klahawiam kopa kanawi tilikom.
people; they’re the most miserable of all people.
Ilo kansih klaska mamuk kuk klaska makmak. Ikta
They never cook their food. Whatever
klaska makmak, klaska makmak [NULL] ilo kuk. Klaska tlap
they eat, they eat [it] raw. They catch
fish pi klaska makmak [NULL], ilo klaska mamuk kuk iaka
fish and they eat [it], they don’t cook it.
Pus chako kol ilihi pi ayu sno mitlait klaska
When winter comes and there’s a lot of snow, they
mamuk haws kopa kol ilihi. Ukuk haws kanawi
make winter houses. These houses are completely
ais Klaska iskom sno, klaska mamuk kyut
ice. They take some snow, they cut
ukuk sno kakwa aias ston, skwir ston; pi
this snow up like a big stone, a squared stone; and
klaska mash chok sahali kopa ukuk ston,
they pour water over this “stone”,
aiak iaka chako ais, klaska mash ukuk sno ston
it quickly turns to ice, they put this snow stone
sahali kopa ilip* klaska mamuk, pi klaska mamuk kakwa
on top of the first ones they made, and they build like
ston haws, kanawi ais, ilo shimni, ilo windo
a stone house, all ice, without a chimney, without windows ,
kopit tanas laport: pus man tiki klatwa kopa haws
only a little doorway: if a person wants to go into the house,
iaka ashnu, pi iaka kuli kakwa kamuks kopa ilihi.
he kneels down, and he moves like a dog along the ground.
Pus klaska mitlait kopa ukuk aias haws, wik
When they’re inside these houses,
klaska mamuk paia, ilo shimni mitlait, kakwa ilo
they don’t build fires; there’s no chimney, so
oihat kopa smok, kopit tanas lamp klaska
there’s no way for the smoke to go, they only
mamuk; Sawash lamp, wik kakwa ukuk ilihi lamp
make small lamps, Native lamps, not like the lamps of this country.
Klaska iskom ilihi iaka tipso iaka nim mos;
They get a ground plant called moss;
klaska iskom drai mos, pi klaska mamuk patl
they take some dried moss, and they fill
ukuk mos kopa fish gris, ukuk aias fish
this moss with the grease of of a fish, the
iaka nim hwil iaka gris. Klaska mamuk paia ukuk
grease of that big fish called a whale. They light this
mos, pi iaka chako lait pi iaka chako tanas
moss, and it lights and it gets somewhat
wam. Klaska mamuk mitlait ukuk mos kopa iht ston
warm. They put this moss on a stone.
Kakwa dish ukuk ston; pi sahali kopa ukuk
This stone is like a dish; and above this
paia klaska mamuk mitlait kansih pawn ukuk hwil gris
fire they place several pounds of this whale fat.
Ukuk gris pus chako tanas wam, iaka fol dawn
The fat, when warming up a bit, it falls
iht drop pi iht drop kopa ukuk paia mos,
one drop by one drop onto this burning moss,
pi kakwa iaka lili mitlait lait pi paia Ukuk tilikom
and this way it stays lit and burning for a long time. These people
mitlait kopa kakwa haws tlun mun, lakit mun, kata
live in houses like these for three months, four months, however
lili son iaka ilo gitop Kakwa lili wiht wik
long the sun doesn’t rise. For as long as that,
klaska chako klahani kopa ukuk ais haws
they also don’t come out of these ice houses.
Wik klaska kol kopa ukuk ais haws, kopa iaka
They aren’t cold in this ice house; [but] inside of it
chako ayu hom kopa tilikom klaska itluil pi kopa
it gets very smelly from people’s bodies and from
ukuk fish iaka gris klaska mamuk paia.
that fish [whale] oil they burn.
(Kamloops Wawa #137, February 1896, page 36)
It’s not crystal-clear from this whether Grouard ever visited the Inuit, or is telling secondhand stories.