1874, BC: What do you call an Indian commissioner in Jargon?


Indian Commissioner Powell (image credit: Temple Lodge 33)

How to talk about a high government official such as Israel Wood Powell (1837-1915) in frontier times?

The following is accurate information, as it matches the Chinuk Wawa that we see in many other primary sources:

powell hyas tyhee.PNG


Yale, June 11 — Indian Commissioner Powell arrived here this morning en route to visit the tribes around Kamloops. The town is filled with Indians waiting to have a talk with the hyas tyhee.

< Hyas tyhee > = háyás(h) táyí = ‘great chief’. It was a typical and widely understood term in those days.

Synonyms that I’ve found naturally occurring in BC Jargon sentences are (approximately) gavmin and gavnər, both of which seem to have been sometimes applied to the official rather than the institution.

— from the Barkerville (BC) Cariboo Sentinel of June 13, 1874, page 3, column 1

What have you learned?