1897: UW cheer

The Seattle Times recently ran an article on the history of Denny Hall at the University of Washington.

The piece is by Jean Sherrard.

It references the writer’s great-grandfather’s 1897 UW graduation, where we’re told the 18-member class:

chanted the school cheer based on Chinook jargon that conveyed bravery and strength:

U. of W., Siah! Siah!
U. of W., Hiah! Hiah!
Skookum, Skookum, Washington!

The siah! siah! part is evoking the idea that the graduates, the school, or both will go ‘far! far!’ This is Chinuk Wawa sayá ‘far, distant’.

Skookum, skookum is Settler English for ‘excellent, excellent’. It’s borrowed from Chinuk Wawa skukum ‘strong’.

I’ve mentioned this cheer before on this site.

In a search for other occurrences of it, I found this great visual:


Text at left: “Territorial University founded 1861. State University’s new buildings 1895.”
Text at right: “U. of W. Hiah! Hiah! / U. of W. Siah! Siah! / Skookum! Skookum! / Washington!!”
(Image credit: Wikipedia)

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?