Le Jeune’s first letter to the Indigenous people


The machine (image credit: Kalamazoo Valley Museum)

This is the earliest known example of Father Le Jeune of Kamloops writing in letter format to Indian people.

In the earliest known assessment of the 1890s’ spreading Chinuk pipa literacy, Le Jeune addresses everyone who reads & writes it:

They’re always wanting him to respond to their correspondence right away, but these requests have become so numerous that he can’t write individually.

Instead, he’s using his Edison mimeograph, which is more efficient.

kamloops wawa 9 letter

< Introductory. > Ukuk naika mamuk pipa
úkuk náyka mamuk-pípa
this I make-writing
‘This is me writing’

kopa kanawi klaksta komtaks Chinuk pipa. 
kʰupa kʰánawi-łáksta kə́mtəks chinúk-pípa.
to all-who know Chinook-writing.
‘to everyone that knows Chinook writing.’

Msaika aias tiki naika kwanisim mamuk pipa 
msáyka (h)ayas-tíki náyka kwánisəm mamuk-pípa
you.folks much-want I always make-letter
‘You folks really want me to keep corresponding’

kopa msaika: kakwa msaika wawa kopa naika pus 
kʰupa msáyka: kákwa msáyka wáwa kʰupa náyka pus
to you.folks: so you.folks say to me in.order.to

‘with you: so you ask me to’

aiak mamuk pipa kopa msaika. 
(h)áyáq mamuk-pípa kʰupa msáyka.
quickly make-letter to you.folks.
‘write letters right away to you.’

     Pi alta msaika chako ayu: kakwa, 
pi álta msáyka cháku (h)áyú: kákwa,
     and now you.folks become many: so,
‘And now there have gotten to be a lot of you; so’

wik kata naika kwanisim mamuk pipa kopa 
wik-qʰáta náyka kwánisəm mamuk-pípa kʰupa
not-how I always make-letter to
‘there’s no way I can keep corresponding with’

kanawi. Alta naika tomtom aias tlus naika iskom 
kʰánawi. álta náyka tə́mtəm (h)ayas-łús(h) náyka ískam
all. now I think very-good I take 

‘everyone. Now I think it would be wonderful for me to take’

naika mashin, pi mamuk pipa kopa msaika kopa mashin. 
nayka mashín*, pi mamuk-pípa kʰupa msáyka kʰupa mashín.
my machine, and make-letter to you.folks with machine. 

‘my machine, and write a letter to you by machine.’

Kakwa kopit iht pipa naika tsim, pi iaka chako ayu 
kákwa kʰapit* íxt pípa náyka t’sə́m, pi yáka cháku (h)áyú
so only one letter I write, and it become many
‘So it’s just one letter that I’m writing, but it gets multiplied’

kopa mashin, pi kanawi msaika nanich ukuk tsim. 
kʰupa mashin, pi kánawi msáyka nánich úkuk t’sə́m.
by machine, and all you.folks see this writing.
‘by the machine, and you all can read this writing.’

‘I am’

     Pir Lshyun
     pér lədjə́n
     father Le.Jeune
‘Father Le Jeune.’

— from Kamloops Wawa #9 (January 15, 1892), page 33

Ikta maika chako komtaks?
What have you learned?