“Skukum makmak” ad

From an extremely obscure little Chinuk Wawa newspaper…

…come want ads written by Indigenous people.

Some of you will recognize this image. We used it for the t-shirts and tote bags at our Chinuk Wawa Gathering held in 2005 at the University of Victoria, which is famously overrun with rabbits.

skukum makmak ad

skúkum [1] mə́kʰmək.
excellent food.

Drit ayu rabic mitlait kopa Wiams Lik. Pus klaksta tiki
drét (h)áyú rábit-s [2] míłayt kʰupa Williams lék. pus łáksta tíki
really many rabbits live at Williams Lake. if someone want

‘There are really a lot of rabbits at Williams Lake. If someone wants’

makmak ayu rabic, tlus iaka aiak chako. Alta ayu gris
mə́kʰmək (h)áyú rábit-s, łus(h) yáka (h)áyáq cháku. álta (h)áyú grís 
eat many rabbits, good he quickly come. now much fat 

‘to eat lots of rabbits, they should come right away. Right now’

klaska. Wik saia klaska mash kanawi gris, klaska chako
łáska. wík-sayá [3] łáska másh kʰánawi grís, łáska chaku-
they. not-far they get.rid.of all fat, they become-
‘they’re nice and fat. Soon they’ll lose all the fat, (and) they’ll get’


— from the Sugarcane Tintin, in Kamloops Wawa #126 (March 1895), page 37


[1] As we’ve seen a few times already, Kamloops Chinuk Wawa uses the word skukum the way local English does, to mean ‘excellent’ as well as the original sense of ‘strong’.

[2] There’s no other word for ‘rabbits’ known in KCW than this rabit-s, carrying the “-s”plural ending like several other then-new borrowings from local English.

[3] Another dialect feature of Kamloops Chinuk Wawa is the use of wik saia (literally ‘not far’) to mean ‘soon’. Other regions’ CW dialects demand that you say wik lili (literally ‘not a long time’), which is also acceptable in KCW.

What have you learned?