1898: The popular Antwine story retold

A local “character”…

…is used to breathe veracity into what was already an old racist joke about Whitesplaining to speakers of pidgin languages.


The Siwash Cumtuxed. [The ‘Indian Understood’]

The individual red man adds to his learning as his race passes into decay. At Ellensburg, Wash., last week, an Indian named Antwine was granted a divorce from his klootchman [‘woman; wife’]. After the decree had been signed the lawyer explained to Antwine that the law forbade remarriage within six months. Thinking that the ends of justice would be better served, the lawyer made the explanation in Chinook. After he had twisted his jaw into all sorts of shapes with such jargon as “okoke,” [‘this’] “kopa okoke,” [‘for that; because’] “mammocok [sic] law,” [‘make a law; practice law’] “mika ticky,” [‘you want’] “taghum moon,” [‘six months’] and others no better, the Indian said: “Thank you, Mr. Attorney, I understand the conditions exactly, as I care fully read the law on divorces before I began this suit.” This particular Ellensburg lawyer has burned his text book on Chinook, and is thinking, as a further penance, of hiring a dozen strong bucks from the North Yakima reservation to kick him all over the Big Bend empire. [Yakima] Herald.

Antwine is well known in The Dalles, and the above is a good illustration of his character and native genius.

— from the The Dalles [sic] (OR) Times-Mountaineer of July 2, 1898, page 4, column 5

“Antwine”, whether this was or was not a specific person, is a common pronunciation of the French-derived name Antoine among Columbia Plateau tribes.

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