Whiskey ravages Kamloops Indian Reserve
What follows is heartbreaking — in case you needed it proved to you that a pidgin language can communicate emotions — and you might feel like a cleansing, both before and after.
But it’s all true. I’m excerpting this from a longer page, leaving out the preaching and only showing you the specific events.
Everyone in the community knew what was going on, and you can tell that it seemed like an unstoppable nightmare.
Like a lot of people, I’ve lost loved ones to alcohol. Today’s passage puts across the grief of watching that happen.
“Whiskey memaloose tillicum.”
Kamlups tilikom tlap ayu shim pi ayu sik
The Kamloops Indians have gotten ashamed and
tomtom kopa kansih tanas man wik kata pus
saddened over several young men who can’t seem to
kopit makmak wiski.
stop drinking whiskey.
Klaska ilo mitlait tomtom, kopit kopa
They have no sense; it’s only
wiski klaska tomtom.
whiskey that they think about.
Klaska komtaks, ankati iht tanas man
They know that some time back a young man
kopa Kamlups chako patlam, pi iaka kuli kopa
from Kamloops got drunk and he wandered onto
ais pulakli, pi iaka fol dawn kopa chok, pi
the [river] ice at night, and he fell into the water and
iaka mimlus: pi kaltash ukuk, klaska wiht
he died; but no matter, they still
Klaska komtaks iht man kopa Savona ankati
They know that a man at Savona a while ago
chako patlam pi iaka kuli kopa ilihi kopa pulakli,
got drunk and he wandered around the place at nighttime.
iaka slip kopa ilihi pi chako drit aias kol
He fell asleep on the ground and got really frozen
pi iaka mimlus kopa kol: pi kaltash ukuk,
and he died from the cold; but no matter,
klaska wiht makmak wiski.
they keep on drinking whiskey.
Klaska komtaks kansih sno ankati,
They know that a few years ago,
kansih tanas man chako patlam kopa Kamlups,
several young men got drunk at Kamloops,
pi wach man tiki iskom klaska mamuk stop klaska
and the watchman [church police] tried to catch them to stop them
pi iht tanas man iaka pu wach man, pi iaka
but one young man shot the watchman and he
mimlus. Pi wiht iht man iaka pu ukuk tanas
died. And another man shot that young
man, pi iaka mimlus; kakwa mokst man mimlus iht son.
man, and he died; so two men died in a day.
Wiski mamuk mimlus klaska. Pi kaltash ukuk
Whiskey killed them. But no matter,
Klaska wiht makmak wiski.
They keep drinking whiskey.
Klaska kolan, alta mokst wam, iht tanas
They have heard that two summers ago, a young
man kopa kikuli iaka chako patlam, pi wach man tiki
man from downriver got drunk, and the watchman tried to
iskom iaka, pi iaka iskom stik pi iaka kakshit
arrest him, but he picked up a stick and beat
wach man,pi iaka mimlus wach man. Alta tikop man
the watchman, and he killed the watchman. Then the white people
iskom ukuk tanas man, pi klaska mamuk kort haws
caught that young man, and they brought him to court,
iaka, pi klaska mamuk lop iaka. Kakwa iaka wiht
and they hanged him. So him too,
iaka mimlus. Kakwa wiski wiht mamuk mimlus mokst
he died. So whiskey killed another two
man. Pi kaltash ukuk, klaska wiht makmak wiski.
men. But no matter, they keep drinking whiskey.
Klaska komtaks tanki wam iht man kopa Nikola iaka
They know that last summer a man from Nicola Lake
iskom wiski, pi iaka chako saliks pi iaka
got hold of some whiskey, and he turned angry and
mamuk pu iaka kluchmin, pi iaka wiht mamuk
shot his wife, and he also
pu iaka itluil. Pi iaka mimlus kanamokst iaka
shot himself. And so he died along with his
kluchmin kopa iht son. Wiski mamuk mimlus
woman, both in one day. Whiskey killed
klaska. Pi kaltash ukuk: klaska wiht
them. But no matter: they keep on
Klaska komtaks kansih sno ankati iht taii
They know that several years ago a chief
kopa Nikola chako patlam, pi iaka tiki fait, pi iht
at Nicola got drunk and belligerent, and another
man mimlus iaka. Wiski wiht mamuk ukuk: pi
man killed him. Whiskey did this too; but
kaltash ukuk, klaska kwanisim makmak wiski.
no matter, they keep on drinking whiskey.
Klaska komtaks, tanki wam kopa Kamlups, kansih
They know that last summer at Kamloops, several
tanas man chako patlam, pi iht tanas man
young men got drunk and one young man
mimlus. Klunas klaksta man mamuk pu iaka pi mash
died. Somebody or other shot him and threw
iaka itluil kopa stim kar oihat; pi stim
his body onto the train tracks; and the train
kar kuli kopa iaka; pi iaka itluil chako kanawi
ran over him; and his body was totally
tlimin. Wiski wiht mamuk ukuk. Pi kaltash ukuk
smashed. Whiskey did this too. But no matter.
Klaska kwanisim makmak wiski.
They just keep on drinking whiskey.
— Kamloops Wawa #142 (July 1896), page 155