LINGUISTIC ARCHAEOLOGY: TREATY LANGUAGE (POINT NO POINT), PART 12

smallpox vaccine

(Image credit: CBS News)

Education and health care…

This Article was not tremendously hard to translate, for the most part.

For example, the documentation of Chinuk Wawa from the times of the treaties includes words for ‘vaccinate’ and ‘smallpox’. (Did you know that??)

Still, the concepts and words for ‘farming’ and ‘blacksmithing’ were rather new…

(Back to: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8.; Part 9 ; Part 10; Part 11.) 

ARTICLE 11.
úkuk táx̣am-pi-íxt íkta ɬáska wáwa
this ten-and-one thing they talk

‘The eleventh thing that was discussed.’

The United States further agree to establish at the general agency for the
bástən háyás(h)-papá wə́x̣t yáka ɬúsh-wáwa pus
American great-father also he good-say that
‘The American great father also promises that’

district of Puget’s Sound, within one year from the ratification hereof, and to
qʰánchi(x̣) yáka wáwa ɬúsh úkuk pípa, kʰapa úkuk íxt kʰúl cháku kʰimt’á,
when he say good this paper, in that one winter come after,
‘once he says this paper is good, in the year coming afterwards,’

support for the period of twenty years, an agricultural and industrial school, to
yaka bástən tənəs-táyí ɬáska mámuk skúl-háws pus mamuk-kə́mtəks úkuk s(h)áwásh-
his American little-chief make school-building to make-know these Indian-
‘his American subordinates will build a schoolhouse to teach these Indian’

tílixam kʰánawi ɬaska tənás qʰáta mamuk-ílihi pi qʰáta mámuk ɬíʔil-chíkʰəmin íkta-s
people all their child how make-land and how make black-metal thing-s
‘people’s children how to work the land and how to make iron things’

kʰapa mamuk-ílihi pi kʰapa kʰíyutən, pi ɬúsh pus úkuk skúl míɬayt kʰapa mákwst-
for make-land and for horse, and good if that school exist for two-
‘for farming and for horses, and that school should operate for twenty’

táɬlam kʰúl,
ten year,
‘years,’

be free to children of the said tribes and bands in common with those of the
pi hílu s(h)áwásh-tílixam ɬáska pʰéy kʰapa úkuk skúl,
and no Indian-people they pay for that school,
‘and the Indian people will not pay for that school,’

other tribes of said district, and to provide a smithy and carpenter’s shop, and
pi wə́x̣t yáka pá(t)lach háws qʰá íxt bástən-mán yáka mámuk ɬíʔil-chíkʰəmin kʰapa
and also he give building where one American-man he make black-metal for
‘and also he will give a building where an American man will work iron for’

s(h)áwásh-tílixam, pi háws qʰá íxt bástən-mán yáka mámuk laplásh íkta-s kʰapa
Indian-people, and building where one American-man he make board thing-s for
‘the Indians, and a building where an American man will make things from lumber for’

s(h)áwásh-tílixam,
Indian-people,
‘the Indians,’

furnish them with the necessary tools, and employ a blacksmith, carpenter,
pi wə́x̣t háyás(h)-papá yáka pá(t)lach kʰanawi íkta-s pus úkuk mákwst bástən-mán
and also great-father he give all thing-s for those two American-man
‘and also the great father will give everything for those two American men’

ɬáska mámuk íkta ɬáska mámuk kʰapa s(h)áwásh-tílixam, pi yaka pʰéy úkuk ɬíʔil-
they make what they make for Indian-people, and he pay that black-
‘to make what they make for the Indians, and he will pay that black-‘

chíkʰəmin-mán < blacksmith> pi úkuk laplásh-íkta-s-mán ,
metal-man and that board-thing-s-man,
‘smith and that carpenter,’

and farmer for the term of twenty years, to instruct the Indians in their
pi wə́x̣t íxt mamuk-ílihi-mán < farmer > kʰapa mákwst-táɬlam kʰúl, pi ɬúsh pus úkuk ɬún mán ɬáska
and also one make-land-man for two-ten year, and good if those three man they
‘and also a man to work the land for twenty years, and those three men should’

mamuk-kə́mtəks úkuk s(h)áwásh-tílixam
make-know these Indian-people
‘teach these Indian people’

respective occupations. And the United States further agree to employ a
qʰáta mámuk. pi bástən háyás(h)-papá wə́x̣t yáka ɬúsh-wáwa pus yáka pʰéy íxt
how work. And American great-father also he good-say that he pay one
‘how to work. And the American great father also promises to pay a’

physician to reside at the said central agency, who shall furnish medicine and
dákta pus kwánisəm míɬayt kʰapa bástən tənəs-táyí-ílihi kʰapa úkuk chxí s(h)áwásh-ílihi, pi
doctor to always be at American chief-place on this new Indian-land, and
‘doctor to stay at the the American supervisor’s place on this new Indian land, and’

ɬúsh pus úkuk dákta yáka pá(t)lach lamatsín pi yáka
good if that doctor he give medicine and he
‘that doctor should give medicine and’

advice to the sick, and shall vaccinate them; the expenses of the said school,
wáwa kʰapa sík s(h)áwásh-tílixam, pi yáka másh lamatsín kʰapa líma yáka ɬúsh kʰapa
talk to sick Indian-people, and he put medicine in arm it good for
‘speak to  sick Indians, and put medicine in their arms that is good for’

masháchi páya skín-sík < smallpox >; pi
violent burning skin-illness “smallpox”; and
‘the violent burning skin sickness called smallpox; and’

shops, persons employed, and medical attendance to be defrayed by the United
bástən háyás(h)-papá yáka kʰə́ltəs-pá(t)lach kʰánawi úkuk skúl pi mámuk-háws pi
American great-father he worthless-gift all that school and work-building and
‘they will be gifts from the American great father, that school and the work buildings and’

mámuk-tílixam pi dákta,
work-people and doctor,
‘workers and doctor,’

States, and not deducted from the annuities.
pi hílu yáka ískam Ø kʰapa úkuk dála yáka pá(t)lach kʰánawi kʰúl kʰapa úkuk
and not he take it from that money he give every winter to these
‘and he will not take it from the money he gives every year to these’

s(h)áwásh-tílixam.
Indian-people.
‘Indian people.’

I combined George Gibbs’ expression for ‘vaccinate’ (he was one of the main Chinuk Wawa translators for these Stevens Treaties, by the way) with Father St. Onge’s for ‘smallpox’. The former used the English word ‘smallpox’, the latter spelled it out in Jargon.

It’s worth pointing out that the concept of vaccination was, in 1855, pretty literal. It was a one-disease preventative, still true to its etymology and origin in administering cowpox virus (Latin vacc- ‘cow’) to make people immune to smallpox. That disease had already ravaged the Pacific Northwest’s Native population within living memory, possibly making this Article a strong selling point among the signatory tribes.

An example of linguistic archaeology using not just Chinuk Wawa but English and Latin historical data!

I close by observing the humor in a so-called trade language trying to express the notion ‘free of charge’, or in the lingo of the older lexicons, ‘gratis’. It’s not terribly easy, in practice, in Chinook Jargon. (I checked a number of dictionaries, including my Grand Ronde material.) To my ears most ways of saying it, even ‘gift’ as I have it above, carry the implication of one party attempting to give the other a bad deal!

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