“Kamloops Wawa” in The Stenographer magazine (Part 1)


When Kamloops Wawa was still new, many people far away were taking an interest in it…

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Another form of writing and another Rizer (image credit: Richmond Magazine)

…Here we’ll see a professional shorthand-writing magazine whose editor wrote to the Indian experts at the Smithsonian trying to learn more about it.

This East Coast magazine — out of Philadelphia — managed to confuse Kamloops-area Indigenous people with Chinook Indians, a common and understandable mistake that I want to warn my readers about.

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H.C. RIZER, chief-clerk of Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D. C., replying to a letter from us, says: “I beg to state that the investigation of the Kamloops stenography or Chinook shorthand consists only in studying the matter from a linguistic, and not a stenographic standpoint. The paper to which you refer is called the Kamloops Wawa, and is edited by Rev. J. M. R. Le Jeune, of Kamloops, B. C. It is a weekly periodical printed in the Chinook jargon, on the mimeograph, by Father Le Jeune, who uses the Duployan system of stenography. He claims that his Indians learn to use the system readily. The numbers already published can be secured of the editor, at a very small cost.”

Should any of our readers be interested to assist Father Le Jeune, he would be very glad to receive subscriptions at the price of $1.50 per year for the Wawa, and $1.50 for the “Kamloops Phonographer or Chinook Shorthand.” By the assistance of these publications it would be quite possible for the English reader to acquire a knowledge of the Chinook, as it also is for the Chinook Indian to master English.

— from The Stenographer III:8 (December 1892), page 351

What have you learned?