LINGUISTIC ARCHAEOLOGY: TREATY LANGUAGE (POINT NO POINT), PART 9

chinook jawbone

Chinook jawbone (image credit: Science Source)

Giving the translators a break at last! This is the shortest article in the Treaty of Point No Point.

(Back to: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7; Part 8.)

ARTICLE 8.
úkuk stúxtkin íkta ɬáska wáwa
this eight thing they talk

‘The eighth thing that was discussed.’

The annuities of the aforesaid tribes and bands shall not be taken to pay the
úkuk chíkʰəmin bástən háyás(h)-papá yáka pá(t)lach kʰapa úkuk s(h)áwásh-tílixam,
this money American big-father he give to these Indian-people,
‘This money that the American great father is giving to these Indian people,’

debts of individuals.
wík ɬúsh pus ɬáska másh úkuk pus pʰéy íxt-íxt s(h)áwásh yaka já-bón.
not good if they throw this in.order.to pay one-one Indian his jaw-bone.
‘it will not be all right for it to be spent to pay for this or that Indian’s debts.’

Here I’ve used the known Chinuk Wawa expression “jawbone” for credit/debt, although our first definite knowledge of it in the Jargon comes a couple decades later. I’ve found it in informal Pacific Northwest English by 1865, and am extrapolating from that occurrence.

If you had to express the concept without that word, no problem. You’d just engage in a bit of “talking around” it. I think it’s clear enough if you say for example …pus íxt-íxt s(h)áwásh yáka pʰéy mákuk-háws-mán (‘…for this or that Indian to pay storekeepers’).

What do you think?

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