1873: Last scenes in the Modoc War
Yes, Chinuk Wawa was spoken between Indigenous tribes, and not just for trading…
Here we see it used by Warm Springs scouts (assisting the US forces) with their Modoc opponents in battle.
The use of Jargon in the Modoc War is well documented.
Do you realize why?
This Indian war was ahead of its time, in being intensely reported, with really detailed dispatches straight from the battlefield to the media, and plenty of photography thrown in.
The technology of the time didn’t allow actual action photos, but see the image above for one example of the on-scene poses that were preserved.
Again a Modoc appeared in view. This time he glanced hurriedly about him. and saw the situation. He ran below, and in three minutes nppearad a second time. He had flung his gun aside, and was undecided how to act. One of the Warm Springs cried out in Chinook jargon, “Come here; we won’t hurt you.” The Modoc came to the scout, and the latter, laying down his gun, grasped him cordially by the hand.
— from the Oregon City (OR) Enterprise of June 13, 1873, page 1, column 4
The Jargon used was probably, as my recent research suggests, an early-creolized style, either pre- or (less likely) early Grand Ronde.
How do you suppose “Come here; we won’t hurt you” sounded in that kind of Chinook?
What do you think?