“He speaks Chinook like a native”

Mud_Bay_high_tide_2015 (1)

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

A mighty interesting couple of newspaper clippings:

Indians Marry

Their Sixth Child is Present at the Ceremony

Frank Young and Anna Jackson, Indians from Oyster Bay, were married last evening by Justice Bolton at his office. They are 36 and 26 years old. Their sixth child, a babe of two months, was an interested spectator at the ceremony. “Married long ago Indian fashion,” explained the groom to Milton Giles through whom he made arrangements for the license. “Think I will get married Boston man style now,” thus concluded the Indian.

Marriage Ceremony delayed

Justice Giles First Wedding Uniting Two Mud Bay Indians

When Justice Giles was appointed justice of the peace recently this paper said that he would probably have a monopoly of the Indian weddings to preside over in the future and it now begins to be apparent that the prophesy [sic] was correct. When Justice Giles was a plain everyday butcher he was in constant demand to adjust the troubles of the Indians, principally from the fact that he speaks Chinook like a native. Yesterday the justice was called upon to legalize a marriage performed in the native fashion twenty years ago, and he united Dick Jackson and Sophia White of Mud Bay, in the most approved style. Dick and Sophia in 1881 secured a marriage license and went through the Indian ceremony but neglected to conform to the white man’s way of doing things and since that time they have brought several children into the world and accumulated considerable property and money. Recently they consulted their friend the justice and he advised them to have a genuine “Boston wedding,” and yesterday afternoon it came off and the natives were made one. As the bride cannot speak a word of English the justice tied the knot in Chinook as follows:

“Mika tike (name), mittie quanisum mike delate klootchman pe marsh konoway huliuman kootchma alt ape quanisum konomox nesika iht pe konoway nesika ikta copet iht pe nesika mamaluse. Sochlee Tyee, nanich nika delate wa-wa.” 

— all quoted on page 32 of “Tobin Cemetery” by Bruce Davies, Squaxin Island Tribe, 2011

There’s also a note that Milton Giles in 1901 helped Mud Bay Sam legally organize the Shaker Church. Interesting characters in Chinook Jargon history…

Now I’m going to reproduce the quoted Jargon wedding vows, showing the modern Grand Ronde equivalents of each word, and a quick Englishing of what sounds like a suitably off-the-cuff (for a colloquial language) Chinuk Wawa-ing:

Mika tike (name), mittie quanisum mike delate klootchman pe marsh konoway
máyka tíki … míɬayt kwánsəm máyka drét ɬúchmən pi másh kánawi
you want … be always your real woman and reject all
‘Do you want [her name] to permanently be your true wife and reject all’

huliuman kootchma alt ape quanisum konomox nesika iht pe konoway nesika 
x̣lúyma ɬúchmən álta pi kwánsəm kʰánumákwsht nsáyka íxt pi kánawi nsáyka
other woman now and always together we one and all our
‘other women, and we will permanently be one together, and all our’

ikta copet iht pe nesika mamaluse. Sochlee Tyee, nanich nika delate wa-wa.
íkta kapít íxt pi nsáyka mímlust. sáx̣ali táyí nánich náyka drét wáwa.
belongings only one and we die. above chief see I truly speak.
‘belongings will be one until we die? God, see that I’m speaking truly.’

Notice that huliuman — I’ve seen enough occurrences of that word with the unexpected “n” at the end to be convinced that it’s a distinct dialect pronunciation in Chinuk Wawa of the Salish Sea.

Also notice the use of pi for ‘until’. This is totally in line with the usual way of talking a bit farther north, in Kamloops-area Chinuk Wawa.

Looks like fluent Jargon indeed.

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