1892: “A Monograph on the Puyallup Indians”, and Métis traces

“A Plea for the Puyallups”, the subtitle, gives away the purpose of this unusual publication…

boston tilicum

Image credit: “The Canoe and the Saddle

As does the title page’s tabulation of the Puyallup Reservation’s acreage and the dollar value thereof, with a breakdown showing that already only a minority of that land was owned by Puyallup tribal people in 1892.

The author uses a Chinuk Wawa pseudonym: A. Boston Tilicum, Esq. (‘A White Friend, Esquire.’) The publisher in Tacoma, Washington was the Tacoma Daily News Print. Historian Alexandra Harmon attributes this book to Judge James Wickersham, a major documentor of Pacific Northwest tribal languages and cultures. That particular person, it occurs to me, would have possessed the means to create an expensive private publication such as this one.

One of the main reasons I photocopied some pages from this book was for its tabulation by name of the land allottees on that rez. Quite a lot of these folks are described as “half-breed”, usually with further descriptors. Some of these folks, I’ll bet a batch of bannock, will be considered Métis with Red River ancestry; some certainly do have Fort Vancouver family ties. Here are the entries as published:

  • Manuel Douett, British Columbia half-breed, raised in Victoria, B.C.
  • John McLeod, John McLeod’s son, half breed; (H.B.Co.) English and Nusqually
  • Edwin McCloud, half-breed Scotch Puyallup
  • Augustus Kautz, Nusqually half-breed
  • Louis Napoleon, half-breed
  • William H. Wilton, half-breed
  • John Chenoweth, Klickitat-Puyallup half-breed
  • Jimmy Cross, Nusqually half-breed
  • James Coates, Puyallup half-breed
  • Nugent Kautz, Nusqually half-breed
  • Napoleon Gordon, Nusqually half-breed
  • Joseph Winyea, Nusqually Indian half-breed
  • Antoine (Atwin) Jackson (“Kanaka Jack”), half-breed Sandwich Islander and Cowlitz Indian
  • Louis Le Claire, half-breed French Canadian-Nusqually
  • Joe Taylor, half-breed Clallam
  • Thomas Roberts, half-breed Puyallup
  • Charles Nicholas, half-breed Portuguese-Nisqually
  • Milton Fisher, Snohomish Indian half-breed

By the way, I notice that “Atwin” pronunciation for “Antoine”; it’d be the normal Chinuk Wawa and Indigenous way to say that name, and it’s found elsewhere in the PNW.

In an interesting “complementary distribution”, numerous other people on the allottee list carry personal names from that Métis language of the Pacific Northwest, Chinuk Wawa. (“Chinook Jargon.) Here are their names, with the definitely or potentially CW parts in bold, as is the CW word Kanaka (kʰanákʰa ‘Hawai’ian; Pacific Islander’) above, and definitions by me:

  • Dr. Boston, Snohomish “medicine man”
    (bástən ‘American; White person’) 
  • Mrs. Peter Boston, Snohomish Indian
  • Old John Meander, Puyallup
    (úl ‘elderly’)
  • James Stiwell (Old); Puyallup
  • Jimmy Mowitz, Nusqually Indian
    (máwich ‘deer’)
  • Samson Mowitch, Klickitat-Puyallup
  • Skokum Paines, Puyallup
    (skúkum ‘powerful, strong’) 
  • James Skinshirt, Puyallup
    (skín-shàt ‘buckskin shirt’)
  • Old Kitsap, Puyallup Indian
  • John Wapato, Puyallup
    (wáptʰu ‘wapato roots; potatoes’) 
  • Jimmy Mowitch, Klickitat-Puyallup Indian

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?