sáliks under the influence of “sullen”?

sáliks under the influence of “sullen”?

First off, “sullen” is one of the White stereotypes of Indigenous people’s behaviour…

sullen indian

(Image credit: ebay)

Settlers had a marvelous knack for perceiving Indians as acting “disgusted”, issuing “grunts”, and otherwise being less mature than Whites supposedly were.

So I find it no enormous revelation to notice that the Chinuk Wawa word for ‘angry’ and ‘fight’, sáliks, from a Chinookan source language, tended to be associated by the colonizers with the English word “sullen”.

And with the similar-sounding “sulky”!

These are not among the most common synonyms of ‘angry’ in English, so I suspect some additional motivating factor at work here.

Here’s a sampling of instances that I easily find:

  • CH Hanford’s 1924 “Seattle and Environs< sull-iks > “sullen” … his 1925 “Keel-a-Pie” operetta tellingly uses “sullen” also in describing an Indian character (as < kla-how-yum > ).
  • GC Shaw 1909 “sulky, sullen” < solleks >.
  • Edward H Thomas 1935 repeats this.

I know this is not a whole lot — but I suspect it’s something.

What do you think?