Indian rites over body of old chief

A lot of confusion in a small paragraph about the Puyallup tribe

The reporter possibly made up most or all of this, or else had a shaky understanding of whatever he was told by Puyallups.

“Tribal chants” is one way of referring to the singing expected at an important Native event.

But “an Indian death march and an oration in the Chinook jargon” don’t sound quite so traditional, especially if the implication is that they’d be performed by tribal members.

If the idea is that they’re part of a Christian-style service (Shaker?), that might provide the context to make sense of them.

But no church is mentioned.

And the reporter makes it sound like the “death march” and the Chinuk Wawa are distinct from “present-day” practices.

Maybe the writer was under the common distorted impression that the Jargon was the old local language of whatever tribe lived near him.

Read for yourself:

Indian rites over body of old chief

Indian Rites Over Body of Old Chief

Funeral services which will include a tribal chant and an Indian death march and an oration in the Chinook jargon, as well as the present day religious serivces, will  be held over the remains of George Bird, the old Indian chief, at the Puyallup reservation today. Bird, who was quite old, fell into a ditch filled with water and died of exposure.

— from the Tacoma (Washington) Times of March 30, 1911, page 8, column 3

What do you think?
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