1940s, Cow Creek: Growing up with “English, French, & Chinuk Wawa”

tom rondeau

An earlier Tom Rondeau (image credit: Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians)

Chinuk Wawa really held on in some backwater areas…

…Such was the case in southwest Oregon.

Did French hold on there too?

The family mentioned below seems to trace to early French Prairie, thus to the era of the first creolization of Chinook Jargon.

Interesting associations going on…

A recent article in High Country News brought this to mind:

Michael Rondeau represents one of the last generations of Cow Creek to remember what termination was like: no access to higher education or health care, and no land base — despite legal promises. His father, Tom Rondeau, the descendant of French traders and Umpqua people, grew up with a ramble of cousins on his grandparents’ Tiller, Oregon, homestead in the 1940s, hearing a mix of English, French and Chinuk Wawa, also known as Chinook Jargon.

— from “When Public Lands Become Tribal Lands Again” by Anna V. Smith, High Country News of Aug. 16, 2019

Maybe the reporter intended to repeat the old description of the Jargon as being part  English, part French, and part Indian…?

Otherwise she may be describing a family whose older generations, to judge from what we know of the Grand Ronde reservation community, may not have known English terribly well or relied on it much.

Bonus fun fact: Tiller, Oregon — the entire town — was recently sold to a private party!

What do you think?