1895: A cartoon history of agriculture, in straight BC Chinook!

There were just two issues of the mini-newspaper Shugir Kin Tintin, the ‘Bell of Sugarcane’ Indian Reserve…

But both were mighty memorable.

This production of father JM Le Jacq (not Kamloops Wawa‘s Father JMR Le Jeune, but appearing only inside issues of KW!) abounded in creative use of storytelling, Native people’s participation in the form of want ads, and something I’ll give you a sample of today — Bible cartoons.

The visuals are nifty. You’ll also get a nice dose of straight-up BC Chinuk Wawa; I’ll throw in a couple of notes highlighting the dialect features.

Here you go:

plow 1

Adam iaka mamuk plaw [1] kakwa. Iaka mash ST
‘This is how Adam plowed: He had abandoned God’s’

iaka wawa, ST mash Adam, pi ilo patlach makmak
‘word; God abandoned Adam, and didn’t give food’

kopa iaka. Adam iaka iskom kaltash stik, pi
‘to him. Adam got a broken branch, and’

iaka tiki mamuk plaw: pi iaka drit tolo [2] tlus: iawa
‘he tried to make a plow: and he really managed all right: (but) then’

wik iaka tolo ayu makmak, pi iaka ayu sik tomtom
‘he didn’t get much food out of it, and he was very dissatisifed.’

plow 2

Tanas lili, pi Adam iaka tanas klaska mamuk
‘After a while, Adam’s children’

tanas tlus ukuk stik plaw Iht man iaka pul [3] ukuk
‘somewhat improved that branch plow. One man would pull this’

plaw, pi iht man iaka tlus nanich. Iht man ayu
‘plow, and the other man kept watch. The one man’

til mamuk [4], pi iht man ilo. Kakwa iht man
‘worked awfully hard, and the other man didn’t. So the one man’

kwanisim sik tomtom. Wiht wik klaska tolo
‘was always grouchy. They still didn’t earn’

ayu makmak.
‘much food.’


plow 3

Tanas lili, klaska kopit tiki pul ukuk stik plaw.
‘After some time, they stopped liking to pull that branch plow.’

Alta klaska iskom musmus pus pul ukuk plaw:
‘Now they got cows to pull that plow:’

iawa [5] tilikom chako komtaks musmus iaka skukum [6]
‘(by) then people (had) learned that a cow is strong enough’

pus pul plaw, pi tilikom ilo til mamuk, pi chako
‘to pull a plow, and the people didn’t (have to) work hard, and became’

tanas tlus tomtom.
‘a bit happier.’


plow 4

Tanas lili wiht pi tilikom oihoi musmus
‘A bit later still and people switched the cow’ 

kopa kyutan: tilikom tiki tolo ayu makmak, pi musmus
‘for a horse: people wanted to reap a lot of food, but a cow’ 

wik tiki kuli aiak pus mamuk plaw. Klaska mash iaka
‘don’t like to go fast (enough) for ploughing. They abandoned it’

pi klaska iskom kyutan. Kyutan aiak kuli, tilikom
‘and they got a horse. A horse moves quick, (and) people’

tolo ayu makmak, pi klaska tlap tlus tomtom.
‘earned a lot of food (this way), and they got happ(ier).’


plow 5

Musmus iaka kopit hilp tilikom pus mamuk plaw
‘The cow stopped helping people to plow’ 

pi wik iaka kopit hilp tilikom kopa kanawi ikta. Iaka
‘but it didn’t stop helping people with everything. It’

patlach ayu milk [7] kopa tilikom pus tilikom patlach ayu
‘gave a lot of milk to people if people gave a lot’

makmak kopa iaka. Drit tlus pus mitlait tanas milk
‘of food to it. It’s really nice to have a bit of milk’

kopa kanawi haws; aias klahawiam ukuk haws
‘in every home; very pitiful is the house’ 

kah ilo mitlait tanas milk. Nanich pus ilo
‘where there’s not a little milk. Look, if there’s no’

milk, wiht ilo byutir. [8]
‘milk, there’s also no butter.’


Pus msaika tiki ayu milk pi byutir, tlus
‘If you folks like lots of milk and butter,’

pus skukum bul [9] kakwa ukuk mitlait kopa msaika.
‘there should be a strong bull like this on your property.’

Pus skukum bul, wiht skukum kaw, [10] pi ayu milk
‘If the bull is strong, the female cow is strong too, and there’s lots of milk’

pi ayu byutir. Pus kaltash bul, wiht kaltash kaw:
‘and lots of butter. If the bull is no-good, the cow is no-good too:’

nawitka kakwa. Pus kaltash msaika bul, mamuk
‘it’s really that way. If you folks’ bull is worthless,’

mimlus iaka, pi iskom skukum bul pi alki msaika
‘slaughter it, and get a strong bull and you’ll’

tolo skukum kaw pi ayu milk pi ayu byutir.
‘wind up with a strong cow and plenty of milk and lots of butter.’

— from the Sugarcane Tintin, in Kamloops Wawa #131 (August 1895), page 119

Notes on BC-isms:

mamuk plaw [1] corresponds to earlier, southern-dialect mamuk- or munk-t’sə́x̣ íliʔi / mamuk- or munk-t’łə́x̣ íliʔi. The northern dialect, being spoken only later when there were lots more English speakers around, has correspondingly more English words in it.

tolo [2] (literally ‘to win; to beat someone at a game’) is used a lot in northern dialect to express ‘earn; get some gain (out of a situation); manage to get’.

pul [3] is another, newer, English loan; contrast it with southern, older hál.

til mamuk [4] is a frequent northern expression for ‘hard work’ — also for ‘rough stuff’ as in a fight!

iawa [5] (literally ‘there’) being used for ‘then’ corresponds with southern álta (literally ‘now’).

skukum [6] ‘strong (enough) to’ highlights a typical northern usage, where adjectives tend to carry along in themselves the sense of ‘relatively’ or ‘enough’. In southern speech, I suppose you’d likely hear something like kʰəpit-kákwa-skúkum (‘just-like.that-strong’) for ‘strong enough’.

milk [7] again shows you an older southern word (tutúsh, which also means ‘breast’) being replaced with a newer, more specific English loan.

byutir [8] is also a newer & more specific English loan compared with older southern tutúsh-klís (‘breast/milk-fat)/ músmus-klís (‘cow-fat’).

bul [9] is yet another new English borrowing; compare older southern mán-músmus (literally ‘male-cow’).

kaw [10] too is a more specific new English loan compared to the older, generic musmus ‘cow (the species)’. 

So we’ve had a nice reading selection and a neat little ilustration of some of the ways the southern & northern dialects of Chinuk Wawa tend to differ from each other!

What do you think?