Siwash(ed) Lane: a Chinook loan into English

Darrin Brager, man yaka kwanisum haiyoo-nanich okok naika websait “website“, yaka patlach okok haiyas-makook ankati pipa kopa nesaika.

siwash duck

So this duck walks into a bar…”Siwash”, the WW2 duck (image credit: LIFE Magazine)

(Darrin Brager, a fella who regularly reads this website of mine, contributed this valuable oldtime clipping to us.) Naika wawa masi, Darrin!

This piece is excellent for illustrating how the Chinuk Wawa noun sawash (‘Native person’) got taken into Settler English, made into a verb, and given uncomplimentary associations:

the siwashed men

Says Place Gave Much Trouble.

Chief of Police Young, asked regarding the Bartlett House hotel, said that this place had given more trouble to the police than any other licensed premises in the city. He and his officers had watched the place and had frequently seen interdicted men enter and leave the bar. They had been obtaining liquor there right along. In the case brought up on Monday Sergt. Ellis had entered the bar and found an interdicted man with a glass of Scotch whisky. It was not easy to actually catch hotels in the act of breaking the law but the Bartlett house had been the main source of supply as far as interdicted persons were concerned. They had been apparently getting all they required there.

Sergt. Ellis told the board of finding a notice posted up in the lane near the Bartlett house which read “Siwash Lane, to the Bartlett House.” Between the words “Siwash Lane” and “to the Bartlett House” was an arrow pointing in the direction of that hotel.

The mayor pointed out that the significance of this notice was that the alleyway leading to the Bartlett House had become notorious as “Siwash Lane.” The Siwashed men, he said, had been accustomed to get off Baker street, paddle down the alleyway to the Bartlett house and apparently obtain all the liquor they wanted. The matter had become the scandal of the town.

Mr. Bartlett to the board denied that he had sold any liquor to the interdicted man on the occasion when a conviction was obtained.

The board then went into a committee of the whole and after about 30 minutes deliberation ordered that they license should be cancelled forthwith. The chief of police served a notice on Mr. Bartlett to this effect and the bar was immediately closed.

— from “Board Cancels Liquor License”, the Nelson (BC) Daily News of February 16, 1911, page 1, column 7

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?