1899: Quotation of Chief Qualicum

The body of the post-frontier news article only implicitly translates this leader’s Chinuk Wawa.

That’s the chief of the Qualicum First Nation, a Salish tribe of Vancouver Island’s northern coast.

2447796-h-07057

“The Commission as guests at the home of Chief Qualicum Tom, 1913. British Columbia Archives, H-07057”
(image obtained from Canadian Museum of History)

Here’s the article. Sorry my image of it is so small; you might right-click and open it in a new tab, then enlarge it.

Afterward, I will do a close examination of the Chinook quotation.

UNAPPRECIATED KINDNESS

Chief Qualicum Has a Missing Shawl In His Possession, And Gets Two Months

Chief Qualicum will eat his Christmas Dinner in Castle Stewart, and he thinks himself a much abused man. He says he tried to do an old friend a favor, and his kindness has been unappreciated.

On or about October 20th, Mrs. Hoggan came to this City from Gabriola Island. On going up town she left a shawl in her boat at Campbell’s boat house, and when she returned the shawl was missing. The police were notified, and yesterday afternoon Constable Harry McIndoo found the missing article in a trunk belonging to Chief Qualicum. The Chief was arrested and brought to this city. He told the story of the shawl coming into his possession to Justices Hilbert and Shakespeare this morning. It was to the effect that he happened to be at Campbell’s boat house, and there he saw the boat with the shawl in it. The boat was filling with water. He knew it was Mrs. Hoggan’s shawl, and as she was an old friend of his, he wanted to save it from being spoiled. He took the shawl to his cabin and dried it, after which he put it away until he should see the owner. He did not happen to see Mrs. Hoggan in town, and that was the reason that the shawl was still in his possession. He prayed that Tyees Hilbert and Shakespeare would not be hard on him as he did not want to go to Castle Stewart.

The Justices did not appear to believe the old Chief, and he was sent to Castle Stewart for two months.

The following is the statement of Tyee Qualicum delivered in Chinook:

Tahlam sun kopet alta, nika cooley copa Mr. Campbell’s boat house, nika nanitch Mrs. Hoggan yahka boat, hiyu chuck mitlite. Nika nanitch yahka shawl mitlite copa chuck. Nika chaco sick tumtum copa Mrs. Hoggan. Hyas laly nika kumtux yahka, kahkwa nika iskum okook shawl, nika lolo copa nika house, nika tikegh mamook dly okook shawl. Klone sun kopet, yahka chako dly, nika mash copa lacassett. Nika mamook kow copa nika lacassett. Nika tumtum alki Mrs. Hoggan chako weght copa Nanaimo, pee Nika potlatch yahka. Hally chako copa nika house tahlkie sun, pe yahka nanitch konaway nika iktahs — nika delate sick tumtum. Pe yaka mash konoway okook iktahs mitlite copa nika lacassett. Hyas closhe spose Tyees Hilbert pee Shakespeare mamook klahowyea copa nika. Wake nika tikegh klatawa copa Tyee Stewart’s house. Yahka potlatch nika moxt moon.

— from the Nanaimo (BC) Daily News, Sat, Nov 4, 1899, courtesy of reader Alex Code

Examining that Jargon quote, firstly, its spellings are mostly standardized ones from published sources. Interesting that the editor capitalized “Nika” to match English “I”. The language is fluent:

Tahlam sun kopet alta, nika cooley copa Mr. Campbell’s boat house, nika nanitch Mrs. Hoggan
táɬlam sán kʰəpít álta, nayka kúli kʰupa místa* kámbəls* [1] bót-háws, nayka nánich mísis* hógən* 

yahka boat, hiyu chuck mitlite. Nika nanitch yahka shawl mitlite copa chuck. Nika chaco sick
yaka bót, háyú chə́qw míɬayt. nayka nánich yaka shál [2] míɬayt kʰupa chə́qw. nayka chaku-sík-

tumtum copa Mrs. Hoggan. Hyas laly nika kumtux yahka, kahkwa nika iskum okook shawl,
tə́mtəm kʰupa mísis* hógən*. hayas-líli nayka kə́mtəks yaka, kákwa nayka ískam úkuk shál, 

nika lolo copa nika house, nika tikegh mamook dly okook shawl. Klone sun kopet,
nayka lúlu Ø [3] kʰupa nayka háws, nayka tíki mamuk-dláy úkuk shál. ɬún sán kʰəpít, 

yahka chako dly, nika mash copa lacassett. Nika mamook kow copa nika lacassett.
yaka [4] chaku-dláy, nayka másh Ø kʰupa lakʰasét. nayka mamuk-k’áw Ø kʰupa nayka lakʰasét. 

Nika tumtum alki Mrs. Hoggan chako weght copa Nanaimo, pee Nika potlatch yahka.
nayka tə́mtəm áɬqi mísis* hógən* cháku wə́x̣t kʰupa nanáymo*, pi nayka pá(t)lach yaka (Ø).

Hally chako copa nika house tahlkie sun, pe yahka nanitch konaway nika iktahs —
héli* cháku kʰupa nayka háws táɬki*[5]-sán, pi yaka nánich kánawi nayka íkta-s  —  

nika delate sick tumtum. Pe yaka mash konoway okook iktahs mitlite copa nika lacassett.
nayka dlét sík-tə́mtəm. pi yaka másh kánawi úkuk íkta-s míɬayt kʰupa nayka lakʰasét. 

Hyas closhe spose Tyees Hilbert pee Shakespeare mamook klahowyea copa nika.
hayas-ɬúsh spus táyí-s hílbərt* pi shéykspir* mamuk-ɬax̣áwya(m) [6] kʰupa nayka. 

Wake nika tikegh klatawa copa Tyee Stewart’s house. Yahka potlatch nika moxt moon.
wík nayka tíki ɬátwa kʰupa táyí stíwərts* háws. yaka pá(t)lach nayka mákwst mún. 

Comments:

“místa* kámbəls* [1] bót-háws” … and … “táyí stíwərts* háws” both seem to reflect locally spoken English place names, par for the course for a later pidgin-speaking (i.e. northern CW) environment. Standard CW grammar would’ve phrased these as “místa* kámbəl* yaka bót-háws” … and … “táyí stíwərt* yaka háws”.

shál [2] is an infrequent variant of lishól, documented mainly in BC.

“nayka lúlu Ø” [3] … and … “nayka másh Ø kʰupa lakʰasét. nayka mamuk-k’áw Ø kʰupa nayka lakʰasét” are three accurate examples of the fluent Chinook Jargon “silent it”. This usage was often (even typically) unnoticed by Settlers, so its abundant appearance here tends to indicate an accurate quotation.

yaka [4] chaku-dláy: using yaka for an inanimate thing is somewhat unusual (see preceding note), but it’s a known feature in the usual range of variation.

táɬki*[5]-sán: the first word here is quite rare outside of the southern (lower Columbia River) dialect; I’m not sure how folks would’ve pronounced it in the north, where it was more of a book word. 

mamuk-ɬax̣áwya(m) [6] kʰupa nayka: I’ve found this expression normally with a final “M” in all dialects. Without it, it sounds a bit odd to me. In actual use, it varies between taking an indirect object (signaled by the kʰupa here) and a direct object (which would lack that preposition). 

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?