1888: Political/religious/gender joke

My home state of Washington was among the first to legalize voting by women…


(Image credit: Washington Secretary of State)

We liked it so much, we did so several times 🙂

Today I have a tie-in between women’s rights and Chinuk Wawa. 

It involves a pun between the old Christian slogan in Latin, In hoc signo vinces ‘In this sign thou shalt conquer’, women’s clothing (sent as an insult to the male lawmakers who supported equal rights), and the CW word iktʰas ‘clothing; things’…

kopa ookook ikta

…Still, the bitter attacks upon members of the legislature who voted for woman suffrage, and upon Governor Semple for signing the bill, are all out of place and unjust. One smart Aleck sent them each a sample of feminine wearing apparel, labelled In hoc signio [sic] vinces, “By this article I win.” [sic] Col. B.F. Shaw of Vancouver [Washington] translated the motto into Chinook: Kopa ookook ikta nika tolo.

— from the Port Townsend (Washington Territory) Puget Sound Weekly Argus of February 2, 1888, page 1, column 3

Kopa ookook ikta nika tolo, in modern Grand Ronde-style spelling, would be kʰapa ukuk ikta nayka tulu ‘with this thing I win’ / kʰapa ukuk iktʰas nayka ‘in these clothes I win’. Not a bad slogan!

Bonus fact:

Benjamin Franklin Shaw (1829-1908) had been one of the Chinuk Wawa interpreters most relied on by the US government in getting the mid-1850s “Stevens Treaties” signed by Pacific Northwest Native nations.  

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?