Baptiste of Shhkaltkmah writes to the editor
A young Secwepemc man writes with news of a tragedy…
This is one of the earliest extant letters written by an Indigenous person in the brand-new Chinuk pipa alphabet:
Shan. < 31, 1892. >
January 31, 1892.
Naika tlus papa Pir Lshyun,
My good father Pere Le Jeune,
Kanawi naika iktas chako paia: pi naika haws
All of my belongings have burned: and my house
iaka paia: pi naika mama iaka iktas iaka paia,
is burned: and my mother’s things are burned,
pi naika papa iaka iktas iaka paia. Drit naika
and my father’s things are burned. Really I
ayu sik naika tomtom alta. Ilo iktas
am feeling very sad now. No belongings
alta naika mitlait. Pus maika nanich ukuk
at all now do I have. When you see this
pipa maika sik tomtom.
letter you’ll be sad.
Naika Batist kopa Shhkaltkmah.
I am Baptiste from Sahhaltkum.
– from Kamloops Wawa #12[a], February 7, 1892, page