1896: Illihee Club gift and mystery “matukta”

Are any of my readers able to figure out what matukta is?

A social club having a Chinuk Wawa name is the right bunch of folks to get into a Chinook correspondence with.


The Burke Block in Salem, original home of the Illahee [sic] Club (image credit: Places Pages)

This was the Illihee (‘land, country, territory’) Club in Salem, Oregon. In a fun reflection of a persistent trend, the Jargon name of this club got spelled in various ways by different folks!

The following transpired in 1896, shortly into the post-frontier era.

Folks still knew plenty of Jargon in that place and time.

That explains the lack of an English translation for the 2 notes quoted in the following — do you feel like leaving a Comment with your own translations?

— from the Salem (OR) Statesman Journal of May 3, 1896, page 5, column 1

I’ll transcribe only the two Chinuk Wawa notes, with two clues:

  • Fair warning — “matukta” is a word that’s new to us.
  • These kinds of notes often reflected Settlers’ customs of how to word letters in English.

From Olive England:

Nika potlatch okoke kopa nika Illihee, copa nika hias close tumtum.

From Phil Metschan:

Conaway Illihee tillicum tum tum, hias close copa mika pe wa wa, matukta, chee tillicum, copa okuk close icta mika potlatch.

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?