Buckskin invitation

The Improved Order of Red Men strike again.

This fraternal organization made Chinook Jargon its calling card, and like others who threw large gatherings in the post-frontier Pacific NW, it wrote invitations in Jargon:

buckskin invitation

T.J. Lynch brought back with him from the Red Men’s meeting in Portland an invitation to “Hiyu Muck-a-muck” [háyú mə́kʰmək, ‘lots of food’] printed on a buckskin moccasin and also the menu on buckskin. They are certainly odd curiosities.

— from the Dalles (OR) Times-Mountaineer of August 6, 1898, page 3, column 1

This might be one chapter in the weird little history of our American slang expression “high muckamuck” (among other spellings), meaning “a fat cat, a bigshot, a bigwig”. There will be more to say…

What do you think?

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