1900: Tlingit Indians’ word for ‘Mounties’


NWMP in the Yukon (image credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the rule more than an exception, that we discover some signficant new point whenever Chinuk Wawa turns up in an old newspaper story.

Today, thanks to an ongoing international dispute, we learn how to say “Mounties”!

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Kluckwan Siwashes Express Dislike for the Canadian Police.

Correspondence of the Post-Intelligencer.

SKAGWAY, June 27. — The report is brought out that the British members of the international boundary survey commission have met opposition in making the survey and setting their monuments in the persons [SIC] of the [Tlingit] Indians near the big Indian village of Kluckwan [Klukwan], on the headwaters of the Chilkat river, and near the Porcupine mining district. The Indians seem to have an antipathy to the British.

In the Chinook jargon, used by Indians along the Coast, a Britisher is termed a “King George man.” They are reported as saying, at Kluckwan: “We want no ‘King George’ man here; we do not want their posts set up on the line. It is all right for the King George soldiers (meaning the mounted police) to remain where they are, nine miles back of the Porcupine mines, but we do not want them nearer.”

Whether or not the Indians threatened violence is not learned. It, however, is not feared they will give serious trouble. 

— from the Seattle (WA) Post-Intelligencer of July 2, 1900, page 12, column 5

Recall if you will, that < soldiers > is a well-established word of Chinook Jargon. Its application in a decidedly non-English way, to the RCMP (well, technically the Yukon-deployed NWMP at that time), is all the proof we need that ‘British soldiers’ here is a previously undiscovered CJ way of referencing the Mounties.

Quite something!

What have you learned?