1912, Haida Gwaii: You can trust Cochrane!

Naika wawa mirsi kopa okok Alex “Alik” Code kopa okok tanas pipa.

No translation was needed for Haida Gwaii readers in the earlyish post-frontier era.

Maybe I should just say “in the frontier era” in this case, as the town of (Queen) Charlotte (City) had only been founded 4 years previous, and Settlers might not yet have been in the majority around there. There may have been very good reasons for Chinuk Wawa to still be in use locally.

But I think it helped that this was written in the de facto standardized Chinook Jargon dictionary spellings of the time. You could look up any words you didn’t remember or know…



Spose mika engine cockshut, Cochrane hyak mamook chahko close iktas kopa Vancouver, tenas mahkook. Mika cumtux Cochrane halo kapswalla.

D. Cochrane
Groceries     Dry Goods
Queen Charlotte

— from the Queen Charlotte (BC) Queen Charlotte Islander of November 18, 1912, page 1, column 4

And a quick translation for posterity’s sake:


Spose mika engine cockshut,
spus mayka énjin* kákshit,
if your engine broken,
‘If your engine’s busted,’ 

Cochrane hyak mamook chahko close iktas kopa Vancouver,
kákrən* (h)áyáq mamuk-cháku ɬúsh íkta-s kʰupa vankúvər*,
Cochrane quickly make-come good thing-s from Vancouver,
‘Cochrane can order good supplies from Vancouver right away, ‘ 

tenas mahkook.
‘for cheap.’ 

Mika cumtux Cochrane halo kapswalla.
mayka kə́mtəks kákrən* hílu káps(h)wála.
you know Cochrane not steal.
‘You know Cochrane doesn’t chisel.’ 

Engine is obviously a new loan from locally spoken English, and for those who don’t already realize it, it means a “gas boat’s” motor in 1912 Haida Gwaii.

The above is good solid Jargon.

Kahta mika tum-tum?
What do you think?