The Siwash Had His Views
Again with the late-frontier era tilt towards English in people’s Chinook Jargon. This time we’re taken to far northwestern British Columbia’s Taku River district.
I’ll add clarifications and translations in brackets:
The Siwash Had His Views. When ex-Governor Hon. T. R. Mc- lnnes paid bis visit to Atlin in the days of his tenancy of government house, as all visitors to Atlin do, he fell in with a well built and extremely useful Indian who at that time enjoyed a monopoly of tho baggage handling for transient visitors to the camp. Since his retire- ment from the gubernatorial chair, Hon. Mr. Mclnnes has again visited Atlin -— and naturally he saw Big Tom [Bear Lake Tom?] again. "I guess you don't remember me," said the doctor in a patronizing tone -— "I was through here a year or two ago." The Siwash [Indian] surveyed the portly form, taking it in slowly from toe to hat. Then he leisurely expectorated a large quad of chewing tobacco. "Nawitka [true]," he observed. ["]Mika [I (sic)] kumtuk mika [know you]. Mika illehie Victoria [your home is Victoria]." "Mox winters gone [two years ago]," and he waved an arm majestically -— "mox winters [two years] gone, mika hyas tyee G-o-v-e-r-n-o-r [ago, you were the great GOVERNOR] Mclnnes. Now," and there was su- preme indifference, verging toward con- tempt, in the tone —- "Now mika just [Now you're just] Mclnnes!"
The confusion of mika “you (singular)” for an expected *nika “I” is typical of English-language sources at the time. It probably has as much to do with the issue of reading handwritten original “copy” as with typesetting errors or anglophone ignorance of Chinook Jargon.
A side note — the expression, a “quad” of tobacco, is new to me. Not a common one; Google leads me to think it’s more British than North American.