1914: Hyiu Siwash Kopa Chahko Mika, a letter

True to form, post-frontier Settler Chinook Jargon that fits into the genre of CJ invitations and challenges.

ALHS-NELSON

The SS Nelson at Nelson. Built 1891 at Nelson Shipyard for Columbia & Kootenay Steam Navigation Company. Withdrawn: 1913.
First major sternwheeler on Kootenay Lake, burnt as part of the Chahko Mika Festival, 1914.
(Image credit: Sternwheelers of Kootenay Lake)

Calling themselves siwash and klootchman (‘Native person’ and ‘(Native) woman’) was classic oldtimer Settler behaviour. Their claim to the land must’ve felt strengthened by it. It’s a move very similar to the Boer Settlers in South African identifying as “Afrikaners” and their Dutch language as “Afrikaans”.

A distinct strand in this is the widespread Settler tendency to hyper-gender the Chinuk Wawa word sáwásh ‘Native person’ / ‘Indian’, when it was taken into Settler English. This is surely an assimilation of borrowed CW lexicon into the existing colonizer English racial categories of Indigenous people as male ‘bucks/braves’ and female ‘squaws’.

Thanks again to Alex Code for finding a neat old item from the Kootenays, where the Jargon held on somewhat longer than in many other regions. Let’s have a read, and then I’ll make specific comments on the Chinuk Wawa:

greenwood

HYIU SIWASH KOPA CHAHKO MIKA

Greenwood Man Writes Letter in Chinook Telling of Proposed Excursion.

Greenwood old-timers and cheechakos are planning to come to Nelson in large numbers during Chahko Mika week next July. In the following letter in the Chinook language H.C. Wilson, an old-timer in the west, tells about the proposed excursion:

“Hyiu siwash kopa Greenwood kumtuks siwash kopa Nelson potlatch hyiu chickamin kopa Chahko Mika kopa mamook-poh kalakula pee mamook-poh calipeen. Spose siwash kopa Nelson delate wauwau kopa hyiu heehee kopa Chahko Mika hyiu siwash pee hyiu klootchman klatawa kopa C.P.R. chick-chick inati Columbia chuck kopa Nelson iskum hyiu heehee. Kelapie kopa Greenwood pee wauwau siwash kopa Nelson hyiu skookum tillikum.

Siah Tillikum.

Literally interpreted the letter reads:

“Many men in Greenwood understand men in Nelson will give much money at Chahko Mika for shooting birds and shooting rifle. If men in Nelson true talk about big fun at Chahko Mika many men and many women will go by C.P.R. wagon across Columbia water to Nelson to get big fun. Then return to Greenwood and say men in Nelson very big friends. 
(Signed) Faraway Friend.”

— from the Nelson (BC) Daily News of March 23, 1914, page 8, column 4

Comments:

HYIU SIWASH KOPA CHAHKO MIKA = háyú sáwásh kʰupa “cháku mayka” = many Natives at “come you” = lots of braves at the “C’mere, You” festival

cheechakos = the well-known Pacific Northwest English borrowing of chxí cháku (‘just.now come’) = ‘newcomers’. As with many other Jargon loans, this one changed syntactic category from a CJ verb phrase to an English noun phrase. Simultaneously it went from being analyzable into 2 words, to being a single word that we don’t see the internal structure of. I speak as a lifelong PNWesterner in this matter, having heard “cheechako” since I was tiny. My folks always explained it to me as a single word (note that it takes the noun plural -s quite freely) meaning ‘newcomer’ / ‘not a sourdough’ 😎 etc., but they showed no awareness that it’s from 2 Chinuk Wawa words having a somewhat different meaning. Let me not leave this subject without drawing your attention to cheechako being a word that only English speakers would’ve created — it’s a straight-up calque (word-for-word translation) of English ‘newcomer’.

Now, the text of the letter (with the supplied very literal translation), plus my translation marked as “DDR”, and footnotes to supplement my remarks above: 

Hyiu siwash kopa Greenwood kumtuks [1] siwash kopa Nelson potlatch hyiu chickamin [2]
háyú sáwásh kʰupa grínwud* kə́mtəks sáwásh kʰupa nélsən* pá(t)lach háyú chíkʰəmin
many Native at Greenwood know Native at Nelson give much money
‘Many men in Greenwood understand men in Nelson will give much money’ 


kopa Chahko Mika kopa [3] mamook-poh [4] kalakula pee mamook-poh calipeen. [5]
kʰupa cháku mayka kʰupa mamuk-p’ú kə́ləkələ pi mamuk-p’ú kalapín*.
at Chahko Mika for make-shoot bird and make-shoot rifle. 
‘at Chahko Mika for shooting birds and shooting rifle.’


Spose siwash kopa Nelson delate wauwau kopa [3] hyiu heehee [6] kopa Chahko Mika
spus sáwásh kʰupa nélsən* dlé(y)t wáwa kʰupa háyú híhi kʰupa cháku mayka
if Native at Nelson really talk at much fun at Chahko Mika 

‘If men in Nelson true talk about big fun at Chahko Mika’


hyiu siwash pee hyiu klootchman klatawa kopa C.P.R. [7] chick-chick inati
háyú sáwásh pi háyú (k)ɬúchmən (k)ɬátwa kʰupa sipiyar* ch’ikch’ik ínatay
many Native and many woman go in CPR wagon across 
‘many men and many women will go by C.P.R. wagon across’


Columbia chuck [8] kopa Nelson iskum [9] hyiu heehee. [10] Kelapie kopa Greenwood pee
kələ́mbiya*-chə́qw kʰupa nélsən ískam háyú híhi. k’ílapay kʰupa grínwud* pi
Columbia-water to Nelson fetch much fun. return to Greenwood and 
‘Columbia water to Nelson to get big fun. Then return to Greenwood and’


wauwau siwash kopa Nelson hyiu skookum tillikum. [11]
wáwa sáwásh kʰupa nélsən hayu-skúkum tílixam.
say Native at Nelson much-strong friend. 
‘say men in Nelson very big friends.’

Siah Tillikum.
sáyá tílixam.
far friend.
‘(Signed) Faraway Friend.’

The comments:

Crowdsourcing challenge time! 😎❤️

My longtime readers can probably supply the comments to the points highlighted with [numbers] here.

Put ’em in, you know, The Comments!