Monthly Archive: November, 2017

Conversations with Khatsahlano

For an amazing document of late frontier life around Vancouver, BC, as known by a Skwxwú7mesh elder, I say you simply can’t top this book.

Hocus wocus? A Galice Creek seed puzzler

Edited 11/09/2017 to add: read the Comments to see why my readers are a priceless resource. It turns out we’ve found the most southerly occurrence of one obscure Chinuk Wawa word! Ironically, today’s… Continue reading

The days of a fishy guy who visited the Makahs

Look what turned up in my net! Some brief but vivid notes about Chinook Jargon as used in Washington Territory’s Makah Indians, 1880.

Chinook prayer at Siletz Fair by Shasta Rev. John Adams, 1915

More than half a century into the reservation era, Chinuk Wawa had quite a presence at the major interethnic social event of the year for Siletz, Oregon.

WF Tolmie tells his role in early Jargon

No less formidable a figure than Dr William Fraser Tolmie once wrote to his local newspaper urging (as I understand him) that Indian reservations be Christian missions. To establish his credentials in that… Continue reading


My specialty lately seems to be finding the metaphors that gave us various Chinuk Wawa expressions. Today’s comes with etymological baggage that I think you’ll love…

NW CA Jargon loans, meaning drift, and violence

Chinook Jargon was never a very big deal in northwestern California, but it has made an impact.

Pushing the boundaries of Chinook Writing: How to write (more) Chinese

(Image credit: Regular readers of my site probably recall a remarkable old Chinuk Wawa article showing how to count in southern Chinese. (See “Shaina Man Mamuk Kansih Kakwa“.)

Mystery: tal’-is

talʹ-is ‘dear (beloved)’ is a word that caught my attention in JK Gill’s 1909 dictionary of Chinook Jargon. Because it’s completely mysterious.