1915: Jimmy Puts It Over

A post-frontier politician is anxious over his assignment to read a written Chinuk Wawa speech in public.

Attorney, businessman, notary public, and judge of a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest, Jimmy Crehan evidently wasn’t blessed with a pioneer’s familiarity with the language, thus his worries that Suquamish Indians might take his performance seriously by trying to engage him in conversation!

Yet, this close to the “closing of the frontier” in 1890, it was indeed still expected that representatives of Settler society would dutifully use a good deal of Chinook Jargon in public commemorations.

jimmy puts


Jimmy Crehan, mayor’s secretary, got away fine with his Chinook Speech, in presenting the key of the city to the Indians during the memorial exercises at the grave of Chief Seattle, at Suquamish, Saturday. He was somewhat worried over the fear that the Indans [sic] might reply in Chinook, and expect him to say something afterwards. But they didn’t. He got a miniature totem pole in return for the key.

— from the Seattle (WA) Star of August 23, 1915, page 5, column 3

What do you think?