Is this why they call it False Creek?


If you’re a newspaper reporter in post-frontier British Columbia, how do you get around the British-style libel laws of young Canada, so that you can write about what look like questionable dealings by government officials with the native Skwxwú7mesh Salish people of False Creek?

You report in Chinook Jargon.

[My clarifications are added in brackets.]


     Now, understand this. It is the true, inside story of
the Kitsilano reserve deal. Characters — [William John] Bowser, as act-
ing premier; Hamilton Read, barrister, etc.; [Tommy] Cole a half-
breed with a good money sense, and a handful of Indi-
ans who owned a great and wealthy tract of land upon
which they lived and propagated.  One of the natives
told your correspondent in strict confidence as follows;

Hyas Tyhee Bowser wahwah, “Closhe Siwash hyiu
     [Premier Bowser was saying, “The Indians should have a lot]
[of money.”]
     Siwash wahwah, “Nanitch nika.   Siwash halo iktas.”
     [The Indians were saying, “Look at me.  The Indians have nothing.”]
     Cole chahko wahwah okook tenas cultus potlatch.
     [Cole came, saying “This is a small gift.]
Nika Bowser nanitch.  
[I’ve been to see Bowser.”]
(Cole klatawa, Read chahko.)  

     [(Cole went, Read came.)]
to Read: Klahowya tillicum? Mitlite hyiu  
     [Indian to Read: “Hello, friend.  There are lots]
salmon kopa.”
[of salmon (t)here.”]
     Read: “Mamook illahie mah-kook. Hy-iu chicka-  
[Read: “Make a sale of land.  (It’ll fetch) lots of mon-]
     Siwash:    “Nawitka nika mamook.”
     [Indian:  “All right, I will.”]
     (Six moons Siwash halo chickamin, halo illahie,
     [(It’s been six months and (now) the Indians have no money, no land,]
halo iktas.) — Vancouver Sun.

— as reproduced in The Grand Forks (BC) Sun, March 17, 1916, page 4, column 2

Follow the links above (and read “Conversations with Khahtsahlahno“) and put it together for yourself.

It looks to me like someone got cheated and it took decades to get a little justice.