Native people’s voices in “Kamloops Wawa” (Part 1 )

An argument between an Indigenous man and a priest in British Columbia…

the shortest way

…It just goes to show you that that squiggly Kamloops Wawa alphabet really was considered “Chinook Writing”.

Most people who could read this alphabet in BC could read Chinuk Wawa well, but not even their own Salish language in it — let alone other languages.

And they had strong opinions about the topic:

Nanich iht man chi mamuk pipa kakwa, iaka wawa,
Look, one man has just written a letter like that, he says, 

“Ikta mamuk maika mamuk cim hloima lalan.g iaka styuil
“Why do you write foreign languages’ prayers

kopa ukuk pipa? Wik naika tiki ukuk lalan.g styuil kopa naika
in this newspaper? I don’t like prayers in those languages in my 

pipa. Kopit Chinuk naika tiki kopa naika pipa. Pus wik maika
paper. Just Chinook is what I want in my paper. If you don’t 

kopit mamuk cim ukuk hloima lalan.g styuil kopa pipa,
stop writing those foreign language prayers in the paper, 

tlus maika kopit mash ukuk pipa kopa naika, pi kopa naika
you ought to stop sending this paper to me, and to my 

kluchmin, pi kopa naika tanas.”
wife, and to my kids.”

[A reply:]

…Wik kata nsaika mamuk sitkom ukuk pipa pus patlach sitkom
…We can’t divide this paper to give half 

kopa maika pi mash ukuk sitkom kopa paia. Pus maika sik
to you and throw that (other) half in the fire. If you’re 

tomtom kopa ukuk hloima lalan.g styuil pi kopa ukuk
upset about these foreign language prayers and about those 

hloima siisim, tlus maika mamuk kakshit ukuk pi mash
foreign stories, you should tear this up and toss it 

kopa paia. Klunas ilo klaksta sik tomtom kopa ukuk,
in the fire. I reckon nobody will be upset about that, 

klunas ayu tilikom ayu ihi kopa maika pus maika
I reckon lots of people will be laughing at you if you 

mamuk kakwa.
do that.


Kamloops Wawa issue #128, May 1895, Pages 69-70

pus kata maika tomtom?
What do you think?