Indigenizing the Katolik Styuil: Marriage and consent

Chinuk Wawa research got me thinking about the expression of consent…


…Particularly in regards to getting married.

Marriage in the Catholic Church” on Wikipedia notes (with my emphasis added) that consent has been an important feature of Catholic marriages for nearly a thousand years —

In the 12th century, Pope Alexander III decreed that what made a marriage was the free mutual consent by the spouses themselves, not a decision by their parents or guardians. After that, clandestine marriages or youthful elopements began to proliferate, with the result that ecclesiastical courts had to decide which of a series of marriages that a man was accused of celebrating was the first and therefore the valid one. Though “detested and forbidden” by the Church, they were acknowledged to be valid. Similarly today, Catholics are forbidden to enter mixed marriages without permission from an authority of the Church, but if someone does enter such a marriage without permission, the marriage is reckoned to be valid, provided the other conditions are fulfilled, although illicit.

Deharbe’s 1890’s Catholic catechism, translated from German, in its discussion of matrimony, surprised me — it doesn’t mention consent at all, focusing instead on purity.

A modern catechism in English strongly emphasizes mutual consent. Now that’s not amazing.

I got into this subject while I was doing some research in Father JMR Le Jeune’s “Chinook Manual” Catholic catechism, because the section on “Matrimony” has some wording that does astonish me.

To give you a good reading exercise in the Jargon along with an exploration of this subject, I’ll show that whole section, which is on pages 99-100. Again, my emphasis is added:

<XVI. Matrimony.>

<136.> Ikta limaliash? = Limaliash
‘What is marriage? = Marriage’

iht sakraminta iaka mamuk pus iht man
‘is one of the sacraments that he made so that a man’

pi iht kluchmin tlus mitlait kanamokst.
‘and a woman may live well together.’ 

<137.> Kata limaliash iaka lagras?
‘What is the grace of marriage like?’ 

= Limaliash mamuk skukum ukuk ankati
‘Marriage empowers what long ago’

ST mamuk pus man pi kluchmin klaska
‘God made so that man and woman’ 

kanamokst k’aw pus kwanisim. Limaliash pa=
‘would be joined together forever. Marriage gives’

tlach lagras kopa malii tilikom pus klaska
‘grace to the married people so they’

mamuk klahawiam kanamokst; limaliash
‘can have mercy on each other; marriage’ 

hilp malii tilikom pus wik klaska mamuk
‘helps married people to not cause’ 

shim ST kopa ukuk iaka mamuk chako
‘shame to God for making’ 

klaska kanamokst pus man pi kluchmin.
‘them join together to be husband and wife.’ 

<138.> Pus iht tilikom tiki malii,
‘If a certain person wants to get married,’ 

kata iaka mamuk? = Tlus pus ilip iaka
‘how does (s)he proceed? = First (s)he should’

styuil pus ST hilp iaka pus tlap iaka
‘pray for God to help her/him to find her/his

tlus kanamokst, pi tlus iaka klatwa ma=
good partner, and (s)he should go and’

muk komtaks iaka tomtom kopa iaka papa pi iaka
‘make her/his wishes known to her/his father and her/his’ 

mama pus wiht klaska, klaska hilp iaka
‘mother so that they too can help her/him‘ 

pus tlap iaka tlus kanamokst.
‘to find her/his good partner.’ 

<139.> Kata ol man pus iaka chako kom=
‘How should an elder proceed when (s)he learns’ 

taks iaka tanas iaka tomtom? = Tlus pus
‘her/his child’s intention?’ 

ol man aiak nanich kata ST iaka tomtom
‘The elder should immediately look at what God’s intention is’ 

kopa iaka tanas, pi iaka hilp iaka
‘toward her/his child, and (s)he should help her/his’ 

tanas pus tlap ukuk tlus iaka kanamokst
‘child to find that good partner of hers/his’ 

ST tiki pus iaka malii.
‘who God wants her/him to marry.’ 

<140.> Kata ST iaka tomtom kopa ol man?
‘What is God’s intention like towards an elder?’ 

= Wik ST tiki pus ol man sil iaka
‘= God does not want for the elder to sell her/his’ 

tanas; wik ST tiki pus ol man mamuk
‘child; God does not want for the elder to’ 

k’aw iaka tanas iaka tomtom; wik ST tiki
‘tie up her/his child’s intentions; God does not want’ 

pus ol man push iaka tanas, klunas
‘for the elder to push her/his child, whether’ 

kopa iht man, klunas kopa iht kluchmin.
‘to a certain man, or to a certain woman.’ 

<141.> Pus man pi kluchmin chako iht
‘If a man and woman become’ 

tomtom pus klaska malii, kata klaska ma=
‘agreed that they will marry, how are they to’ 

muk? = Wik pus aiak klaska chako ka=
‘proceed? = It is not for them to hurriedly join’ 

namokst, kopit pus liplit malii klaska,
‘together, it is only when a priest marries them,’

alta klaska chako kanamokst; tlus pus
‘and then they come together; it is appropriate that’ 

kopa tlun Sondi liplit mamuk klaska bans,
‘after three weeks the priest makes their “banns”,’

iaka ukuk pus liplit wawa klaska nim kopa
‘that is when the priest says their names in’

styuil haws, pus kanawi tilikom alki
‘the church, so that everyone will’ 

chako komtaks klaska tiki malii, pi klaska
‘become aware that they want to marry, and they’ 

nanich kata klaska kopa impidiminta;
‘check how they are with the “impediments”;’ 

pi tlus pus ukuk tiki malii mamuk ilip
‘and it is appropriate for those who want to marry to work extremely’ 

skukum pus klaska chako komtaks kanawi
‘hard so that they learn all of’ 

styuil pi katikism.
‘the prayers and catechism.’ 

<142.> Kata chyurch? Iaka na
‘How is the church to proceed? Does it’

mamuk lo pus wik kata iht man chako
‘make any laws such that a man cannot become’ 

drit malii kopa iht kluchmin? = Nawitka
‘truly married to a woman? = Indeed’ 

chyurch mamuk lo ankati pus wik kata
‘the church made laws long ago such that it is impossible for’ 

iht man malii iht kluchmin. Tatilam
‘a man to marry a woman. There are’ 

pi kwinam ukuk lo chyurch mamuk ankati
‘fifteen of these laws that the church made long ago(,)’

impidiminta klaska nim.
‘they are called “impediments”.’ 

(The impediments aren’t explained further in the Chinook Manual.)

This passage, and especially the sections that I’ve underlined, seem to me highly Indigenized.

First, it’s in Chinuk Wawa, and therefore is vastly more accessible to First Nations folks of 1890s BC than any other existing discussion of the subject.

Second, Le Jeune habitually defines foreign terminology for his Native readers (“banns”, “impediments”).

Third, he also makes use of analogies from the tribal cultures when he’s aware of them. So, here, he overtly speaks in terms of ‘elders’, who at least ‘help’ in picking out your spouse, and of the traditional protocol often put into European languages as ‘selling’ the bride.

Some of this Indigenizing accomodation actually tends to weaken the official priorities of the Roman Catholic Church, if I’m not mistaken.

We can confidently say that the “Chinook Manual” was written by either Le Jeune himself, or an older man, Bishop Paul Durieu. The Jargon in the Manual is very conservative, in that it has many more southern-dialect, lower Columbia River features than the average page of Kamloops Wawa exhibits, which is more like Durieu’s than Le Jeune’s. The takeaway is that it was definitely written by Europeans, who already were fluent in this language.

I mention this because it will be interesting to compare the “Chinook Manual” discussion of matrimony with what is in the 8 Salish-language Manuals that Le Jeune created by relying on First Nations speakers. Will those also refer to ‘elders’ and ‘selling’ a bride? Time will tell; I’ve been gradually researching those Manuals as well.

Bonus fact:

“Katolik Styuil” is BC Chinook Jargon for ‘the Catholic religion; Catholic prayer’.

What do you think?
Kata maika tomtom?