skokomish indian reservation.jpg

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(Back to: Part 1; Part 2)

“On the first day of the council, treaty provisions were translated from English to the Chinook Jargon for the 1,200 assembled natives.”

That’s how HistoryLink describes the scene. This treaty may have been banged out in just 2 days in the temperate rainforest, but it was January and that’s a long time to sit still. I bet there were a lot of campfires…

And the next thing that all that talking accomplished was an agreement to form the Skokomish Indian Reservation:

úkuk mákwst íkta ɬáska wáwa
this two thing they talk

‘The second thing that was discussed.’


There is, however, reserved for the present use and occupation of the said
pi álta ɬúsh pus úkuk
and now good if these
‘And then these’

tribes and bands the following tract of land, viz: The amount of six sections, or
s(h)áwásh-tílixam míɬayt kʰapa íxt chxí ílihi, háyás(h) kákwa táx̣am úkuk ílihi
Indian-people live on a.certain new land, big as six those land
‘Indian people should live at a new place, the size of six of those places’

bástən-tílixam ɬaska mamuk-nim < sections >, ɬáska wə́x̣t
American-people they make-name sections, they also
‘the Americans call sections, which they also’

three thousand eight hundred and forty acres, situated at the head of Hood’s
mamuk-nim Ø ɬún-táɬlam pi stúxtkin ták’umunaq pi lákit-táɬlam < acres >,
make-name it three-ten and eight hundred and four-ten acres,
‘call thirty-eight hundred and forty acres, at the’

íləp-sáx̣ali kʰapa sáltsəqw bástən-tílixam ɬáska mamuk-nim < Hood’s
most-high on saltwater American-people they make-name Hood’s
‘top of the saltwater the Americans call Hood’s’

Canal, to be hereafter set apart, and so far as necessary, surveyed and marked
Canal >, pi áɬqi bástən háyás(h)-papá ɬúsh-nánich Ø, pi pus ɬáska tíki kákwa, áɬqi
Canal, pi later American big-father good-watch it, and if they want so, later
‘Canal, and the American great father will take good care of it, and if it is so wanted,’

chaku-t’sə́m úkuk ílihi kʰapa nánich-íl̓ihi-pípa
become-marked that land on see-land paper
‘that place will be marked on a map’

out for their exclusive use; nor shall any white man be permitted to reside
pus kapit-íxt úkuk s(h)áwásh-tilixam ɬáska míɬayt kʰapa úkuk chxí ílihi; pi
for only-one those Indian-people they live on that new land; and
‘for only these Indian people to live on that new land; and’

wik-ɬúsh pus ɬáksta bástən-tílixam yáka míɬayt
not-good if anyone American-people he live
‘no Americans can live’

upon the same without permission of the said tribes and bands, and of the
kʰapa úkuk chxí ílihi pus hílu ɬáska wáwa dlét ɬúsh úkuk s(h)áwásh-tílixam pi
on that new land if not they say actually good those Indian people and
‘on that new land unless these Indian people and’

superintendent or agent; but, if necessary for the public convenience, roads
bástən tənəs-táyí kʰapa úkuk s(h)áwásh-tílixam; pi pus bástən háyás(h)-papá yaka
American little-chief for those Indian-people; and if American big-father he
‘the American supervisor of the Indian people say it is actually all right; and if the American great father’

wáwa ɬúsh pus kʰánawi tílixam míɬayt chxí úyx̣at ínatay úkuk chxí ílihi, álta
say good if all people have new road across that new land, then
‘says it would be good for everyone to have a new road across that new land, then’

may be run through the said reservation, the Indians being compensated for
yáka mamuk-ɬátwa yawá tílixam pus mámuk úyx̣at, pi yáka pʰéy ɬáksta s(h)áwásh pus
he make-go there people to build road, and he pay anyone Indian if
‘he will send people there to build a road, and he will pay any Indians if’

any damage thereby done them. It is, however, understood that should the
úkuk chxí úyx̣at mamuk-kʰə́ltəs ɬaska íktas. pi kʰánawi-ɬáksta kə́mtəks,
that new road make-worthless their property, and all-anyone know, 
‘that new road damages their property. And everyone understands,’

President of the United States hereafter see fit to place
pus qʰánchi(x̣) bástən háyás(h)-papá yáka áɬqi mamuk-tə́mtəm pus mamuk-míɬayt
if whenever American big-father he later make-heart to make-be.located
‘if the American great father ever decides to put’

upon the said reservation any other friendly tribe or band, to occupy the same
wə́x̣t íxt-íxt ɬúsh-tə́mtəm s(h)áwásh-tílixam kʰapa úkuk chxí ílihi, pus
more one-one good-heart Indian-people on that new land, to
‘still other various goodhearted Indian people on that new land, to’

kʰanumákwst míɬayt
together live
‘live together’

in common with those above mentioned, he shall be at liberty to do so.
kʰapa úkuk s(h)áwásh-tílixam, áɬqi ɬúsh kákwa.
with those Indian-people, later good so.
‘with those Indian people, it will be all right to do so.’

Again quite labor-intensive, that’s my experience of translating the English into Chinook Jargon.

It takes a fair amount of consideration to capture the essence of the ideas behind the English without getting bogged down in conveying the literal sense behind every word and phrase. (Which would be the definition of bad translation.)

I have many, many comments on the countless specific differences that necessarily separate an English and a Chinuk Wawa version of this same text. What I’m going to do is to first finish publishing the CW version of the Point No Point treaty here on my site. Then I’ll get into the guts of it all, to show why there’s daylight between.

What do you think when you compare these two versions, so far?