The Kuaut reserves, a hotbed of Chinook shorthand correspondence


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Quite accurate!

Also known as Quaaout, or in the Chinuk pipa writing as Kwawt — which we know from letters written by Aboriginal people there.

kuaut 1


KAMLOOPS-OKANAGAN AGENCY, B.C.                   245



Location. — These reserves, five in number, are situated at the head of Little Shuswap Lake, on Little River and on Salmon Arm…

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…Education. — Children from most of the Thompson Bands are attending the industrial school at Kamloops, and a system of shorthand Chinook has been introduced among them by the priest in which many of them are able to carry on correspondence.

— Annual Report of the Department of Indian Affairs…for the year…1898 (Ottawa: S.E. Dawson, 1899), page 245

An explanatory note: “Thompson Bands” here means the Secwepemc (“Shuswap”) people living along the South Thompson River. I point it out to those who might confuse this with the “Thompson Indians”, speakers of a different Salish language, who live farther to the west.

So the Indian Agent reporting the above information got it right, and it’s nice to find an official report noticing the then 7-year-old first community literacy. All indications are that Chinuk pipa literacy — primarily associated with Chinook Jargon but also in these communities sometimes leading to letters written in Salish — was popular and pervasive.

What do you think?