19th c.: THE BRITISH COLONIST (Part 2: the Howse case)
A Settler who went on to advertise in Chinook in the Kamloops Wawa was accused of murdering a Native man, Billy Harper…
…And the testimony at the trial of Albert Elgin Howse (1855-1938) naturally involved some Chinook as well.
I find it interesting to see White speakers of Chinuk Wawa using a certain CW loanword in English as a racial insult.
It’s also noteworthy to hear Nicola-area Settlers characterizing what I take to be a Jargon conversation as “Chinook and part English” — which is very similar to my persistent observation that there were many more new English loans in southern Interior BC Chinook than in previous, southern dialects.
One more point — I sure do enjoy reporting on the close association between cussin’ and pidgin languages. We have that today, for sure.
I was in the store and heard Howse and an Indian talking; looked out and saw Billy Harper ride up on a horse; Howse spoke to him; Billy got off his horse, they came into the store talking Chinook and part English, as near as I could tell. The talk was about a bill due Wardle at Hope, Howse asked me for pen and paper. I saw Howse wrieing [writing]; the dispute went on, at last Billy Harper said to Howse, “You are a lying son of a b—h” twice. Howse said, “look here, I won’t allow no Siwash to call me a lying son of a b—h.”
“Have frequently seen Indians at Clapperton’s, every day probably. After supper, I went across through a gate to George Clapperton’s; I met an Indian and Siwash boy on behind him going down the road. I said clar-how-ya, he answered back clar-how-ya, and I went on to the store…”
I could not say what Howse first said to the Indian. A part of the talk was in English and part in Chinook. Don’t know Chinook; heard the Indian call him a lying son of a b—h…
John Charters, sworn, testified to the Indian Billy Harper making a complaint to him in the Indian language [presumably Chinuk Wawa, not Okanagan Salish] as to an assault Howse had made upon him; he recommended him go to Clapperton…
— from the Victoria (BC) Colonist of March 14, 1884, page 3, columns 3 and 4
The deceased Billy Harper may well have been related to the Johnny Harper of Spahomin (Douglas Lake) whose death is reported in Kamloops Wawa #63 and #65, and to subscriber Simon Harper (#118[c]).
The name Charters is also known to us from Kamloops Wawa, where we find Nicola-area settlers by that surname, including “Jack” i.e. John, as well as possibly Native people using it. The John Charters testifying above has to have been this White man, as Natives’ testimony is typically flagged as having come via a Chinook interpreter. (And Natives weren’t always welcome to testify in courts.)