1911: Edward R Curtis — Hobbies o’ Mine

Kind of a goofy use of Chinook Jargon words as verbal spice…

…In a slangy stew where I also learned a new expression for ‘hexing, cursing someone’.

Quite the cartoon caricature here, too, of the West’s premier artistic photographer of Native people, Edward Sheriff Curtis. Curtis’s published volumes also include precious Indigenous language and culture information.

This was in a regular feature of the graphically frantic Seattle Star newspaper, “Hobbies O’ Mine“.

hobbies o mine 1

hobbies o mine illo

hobbies o mine 2

Put the Indian sign on Ed S. Curtis, and he’ll actually give you a vote of thanks. He’ll thank you in Siwash, Chinook, Chemawa [sic] and half a dozen other tillicum lingos. For the hobby that holds the tyee rank with him (tyee being Indian for “ace high,” “big cheese,” “chief gazabo,” [sic] etc.) is to make pictures of braves, squaws and pappooses [sic].

Every now and then he packs up his camera and blanket and hikes off to the reservations, to sit in on the big pow-wows. If he ever gave up photography as a means of earning his “coffee and,” he could land a job on any vaudeville circuit, giving the correct cadenzas and fortissimos in a composite ear buster, including an Indian war dance and the howling of Indian braves. He’s taken photographs of all kinds of Indians on all kinds of occasions, and he’s the big chief in the country on that kind of work.

— from the Seattle (WA) Star of November 27, 1911, page 7, columns 4 & 5

Siwash = sáwásh ‘Native’

tillicum = tílixam ‘tribe; people’

tyee = táyí ‘chief’

Bonus facts:

Here’s the famous circa-1889 self-portrait that’s enlarged on above…

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

Also — “hike” was slang, but not Chinook; it was pretty new at the time of today’s featured article.

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