1948: Sḵwx̱wú7mesh chief Andy Paull’s Xmas message in Chinook

Here’s another fun Christmas-related bit of Chinuk Wawa, courtesy of reader Darrin Brager!

mcconnell_ken2The bearer of glad tidings: BC sports writer and broadcaster Ken McConnell (image credit: Vancouver Broadcasters)

From the sports pages, of all places, we get some genuine BC coast Chinook Jargon in a message from a local sports celebrity.

Andy Paull (Squamish Nation chief, and renowned lacrosse coach) writes his note in spellings that are all his own, which is one of our most reliable clues that someone is an actual speaker of CJ. Other signs of the authenticity of his Jargon:

  • Chief Paull uses a Salish-sourced word for ‘year’ (seelalum), similar to what I’ve found in the Kamloops Wawa newspaper (shilalam). This one’s not in any published dictoinaries, but he may have gotten the word from exposure to Chinuk Pipa writing; several of his tribe are known to have read and written in it. It’s not from his local Skwxwú7mesh language, where ‘year’ is (s)yel’ánəm; it appears to be from Stó:lō.
  • His spellings such as hayoo, hayak, and hayas (compare Grand Ronde háyú, áyáq, háyásh) are certainly more similar to the approximate phonetics used in Chinuk Pipa than they are to mother-tongue English speakers’ hyiu, hyack, hyas.
  • He uses the old-school local Jargon place name, Queensbolow Town, i.e. Kunspa / Queensborough / New Westminster, BC.
  • His pronunciations and word choices match what we’ve seen from sources such as audio recordings of other people in the same coastal region, e.g. koopa and spoos (compare Grand Ronde kʰupa & pus).

Also he uses some nice self-deprecating humour here. I wonder what Andy Paull thought of being called “Chiefie”, though…

andy paull

…A Message From Chiefie

“Klahowya koopa kanaway nika Tillicum koopa Kanaway kaw, Ookook sun kanaway Tillicum delate kloosh skookum tumtum koopa kanaway kloosh Tillicum.

“Nika quansum kloosh wawa koopa Scot, Klootchman, King George Men, Boston men, pey kanaway Tillicum koopa kanaway kaw. 

“Nika teekay spoos Bob Brown quamsum klap delate Kloosh sun chacko ookook chee seelalum.

“Nika teekay spoos Sem Randall, Al Hardy klapp hayoo hayak koolay kewetun, pey hayoo klooshman pey yaka man klap how chickimun, canamaxt klap hayoo makmak. 

“Kanaway nasika take spoos Dan McKenzie koopa King George oyakhat quansum skookum tumtum koopa tenass man pey tenass klootchman koopa yaka heehee mamook.

“Pey waykt kaqua koopa Doug Grimston, hayas tyee koopa Queensbolow Town.

“Kakwa nika kloosh tumtum koopa Coley Hall. 

“Pey elap nika hyas teeka spoos halow klaska klap hiyas quawtun kaqua Santa Claus, McConnell pey Nika.”

Thank you, Chiefie, thank you. He only asks friends, that ALL of you read this over Sunday morning.

King George and Boston Men

What does he say?

“How are you. For all my friends everywhere on this day all people are all good heart to everybody.

“I have always spoken well to the Scot, to the Women, to King George man (Englishmen), Boston man (Americans) and all people everywhere.

“I wish that Bob Brown always gets good weather during the coming year. That Sam Randall and Al Hardy get lots of fast-running horses and the women and the men make lots of money and the horses get lots to eat.

“That Dan McKenzie, Doug Grimston, Coley Hall and all those interested in the promotion of good clean sport in 1949, have much success.

“But my greatest wish to all of you is that you never get a big stomach like Santa Claus, McConnell (why Andy) and myself.”

— from the “Before and After” column by Ken McConnell in the Vancouver (BC) Daily Province of December 24, 1948, page 17, column 1

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