1909: A hilarious Jargon song for Christmas
A nice local report of post-frontier Native celebration of Christmas in Umatilla County, northeastern Oregon.
Below, I’m only going to transcribe the fun part about Chinuk Wawa being used…what was the song that had everyone laughing so hard?…but here’s the entire article for your reading pleasure.
…the mimic[k]ing and “only” Skumit, a good Methodist visitor from Yakima, who spoke his Christmas “wawa” in five different languages, jargon, Nez Perce, Wishkam [Wishram i.e. Kiksht Upper Chinookan], Klickitat and Yakima. He kept all in a roar of laughter, which was added to when he finished with a song in the jargon.
— from the Pendleton (OR) East Oregonian of December 28, 1909, page 5, column 3
Skumit was apparently a “noted medicine-man“, which suggests he didn’t hold undue reverence for Christianity 😎 Was he the leader also known as Charley Skummit? One surviving quotation of him in English, but likely translated from Chinuk Wawa or another Native language, has him referring to the Wenatchee Indians (plural) as “him”, just as really fluent CW speakers often use yaka ‘(s)he’ for both singular and plural.