siʔaɬ (Chief Seattle’s) speeches to back-translate: Part 3 of 3

Even more stuff to back-translate into Chinuk Wawa; we can do this!


(Image credit: HistoryLink)

This is directly relevant to gaining a better understanding of the “Stevens Treaties“…

(Here and here are links to the first 2 installments in this mini-series.)

From the same master’s thesis, “The Many Speeches of Seathl: The Manipulation of the Record on Behalf of Religious, Political and Environmental Causes” by Eli Gifford, comes this last (chronologically) of three known speeches by Chief Seattle to have been written down as they were remembered.

Two versions of this particular oration were preserved, and Gifford is quick to point out which one of them is more true to what Siʔaɬ actually said in Lushootseed, which was translated into Chinook Jargon for the benefit of Whites who were present.

— Version A: —

sealth 3 asealth 3 b

I am not a bad man; I want you to understand what I say; I do not drink rum; neither does New-E-Chis, (another chief present) [editor’s parenthesis] and we continually advise our people not to do so.

I am and always have been a friend to the whites. I listen to what Mr. Page (the resident agent) says to me, and I do not steal nor do any of my people steal from the whites.

Oh, Mr. Simmons, why do not our papers come back to us? You always say they will come back, but they do not come. I fear that we are forgotten or that we are to be cheated out of our land.

I have been very poor and hungry all winter and am very sick now. In a little while I will die. I should like to be paid for my lands before I die. Many of my people died during the cold winter without getting their pay. When I die my people will be very poor — they will have no property, no chief and no one to talk for them. You must not forget them, Mr. Simmons, when I am gone.

We are ashamed when we think of the Puyallups, as they have now got their papers. They fought against the whites whilst we, who have never been angry with them, get nothing. When we get our pay we want it in money. The Indians are not bad. It is the mean white men that are bad to them. If any person writes that we do not want our papers they tell lies.

Oh, Mr. Simmons; you see I am sick, I want you to write quickly to the great chief what I say. I am done.

— Version B: —
(which I won’t transcribe)

sealth 3 c

sealth 3 d

I strongly agree with Eli Gifford. Regular readers of my website here become familiar with my insisting we “don’t talk flowery in Chinuk Wawa“. This language lacks the poetic traditions of English that anthropomorphize features of the environment and deploy a large number of synonyms for basic words.

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?