LINGUISTIC ARCHAEOLOGY: TREATY LANGUAGE (POINT NO POINT), PART 7

Buying the farm: we get just slightly more specific about money today. Just slightly. 

(Back to: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4; Part 5; Part 6)

Today, Article 6 of the Point No Point treaty hints that the Indians need to start living like White people. How legally binding is a hint, I wonder?

It’s not easy being green. That is, in 1855 there was no simple way of expressing in Chinuk Wawa such a culturally fraught European-derived concept as ‘cultivation’. Or ‘farm’ or ‘farming’ or ‘farmer’!

ARTICLE 6.
úkuk táx̣am íkta ɬáska wáwa
this six thing they talk

‘The sixth thing that was discussed.’

To enable the said Indians to remove to and settle upon their aforesaid
pus mamuk-yéʔlan úkuk s(h)áwásh-tílixam pus ɬátwa mámuk chxí háws kʰapa ɬaska
in.order.to make-help these Indian-people to go make new house at their
‘In order to help these Indian people to go build new houses at their’

reservations [SIC, plural], and to clear, fence, and break up a sufficient quantity of
chxí s(h)áwásh-ílihi, pi pus mamuk-ɬq’úp háyás(h)-stík pi mamuk-q’ə́láx̣ən ílihi pi
new Indian-land, and to make-cut big-tree and make-fence land and
‘new Indian land, and to cut down trees and fence land and’ 

mamuk-t’ɬə́x̣ Ø pus mámuk ɬúsh-ílihi kʰapit-háyás(h) pus
make-torn it to make good-land finish-big in.order.to
‘plow it to make farmland big enough to’

land for cultivation, the United States further agree to pay the sum of six
mamuk-cháku bástən-íkta-s kákwa xwít pi potʰéytus, bástən háyás(h)-papá wə́x̣t yáka
make-come American-thing-s like wheat and potatoes, American great-father also he
‘grow American crops like wheat and potatoes, the American great father also’

ɬúsh-wáwa pus yáka pʰéy táx̣am-
good-say to he pay six-
‘promises that he will pay six’

thousand dollars, to be laid out and expended under the direction of the
táwsən dála, qʰánchi(x̣) yáka wáwa dlét ɬúsh pus mámuk kákwa,
thousand dollar, when he say really good to do so,
‘thousand dollars, when he says it is actually good to do that,’

President, and in such manner as he shall approve.
pus mákuk íkta yáka tíki pus ɬáska mákuk.
in.order.to buy what he want that they buy.
‘in order to buy what he wants them to buy.’

Wheat and potatoes were the two main non-indigenous crops that Native people would have seen ground “torn up” for in western Washington in 1855. Many Coast Indian communities had already been growing potatoes for years, and Whites typically got to the business of milling their own flour soon after settling. These gardened and farmed exemplars would make for an evocative translation of the concept of “cultivation”.

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