Jargon dialects, and cultural differences in “t’əmánəwas”

The use of Chinuk Wawa’s word “t’əmánəwas” in my article on the “sáyá, t’əmánəwas!” song from Renton, in the sense of a harmful spirit, strikes me as a particularly Puget Sound-area usage.


“tamanwas” as written in Chinuk pipa

It’s mostly in that area that I have noticed lots of (Native) people referring to such a conception, e.g. as “black tamanous“.

Elsewhere in the northern-dialect CW region, in the BC Chinook Jargon that’s so hugely documented in the Kamloops Wawa newspaper, you find developments of this same idea, with t’əmánəwas spanning ‘traditional healing’ and ‘harmful magic’.

This word alone, as well as the phrases t’əmánəwas-màn, t’əmánəwas-tìlixam, etc., denote a practitioner thereof:

Iaka ilip komtaks Chinuk pipa kopa kanawi tilikom.
‘He was the first to understand Chinook writing out of everyone.’

Iaka papa ankati tamanwas.
‘His dad used to be a medicine man.’ 

Kamloops Wawa #81

Here’s another example —

…ukuk mokst tamanwas man
‘…those two pagan priests…’

— Kamloops Wawa #52

And mamuk-t’əmánəwas is ‘to do [harmful] magic’ to someone.

Iaka na tlus pus man lolo siisim kopa
‘Is it good for a person to bring news to’ 

tamanwas man, pi iaka chako mamuk tamanwas
‘a pagan healer, and they (the healer) come to work magic‘ 

kopa iht sik man? = Wik tlus ukuk…
‘on some sick man? This is bad…’ 

Kamloops Wawa #207

These terms also are used in Christian Bible stories in Jargon, but also to modern times, to refer to pagan priests and such.

Iawa Faraw iaka kopit slip, pi iaka ayu kwash.
‘Then Pharaoh woke up, and he was feeling afraid.’

Iaka mamuk shako ayu tilikom, kakwa tamanwas tilikom.
‘He had many people come, such as pagan priests.’ 

— Kamloops Wawa #20a

Ukuk Boksirs drit mamuk kopa liiam, drit
‘These Boxers really work for the devil, really’ 

liiam iaka tilikom klaska: klaska styuil kopa
‘they’re the devil’s people: they pray to’ 

liiam, klaska mamuk chako liiam, klaska mamuk
‘the devil, they summon the devil, they do‘ 

tamanwas mamuk, klaska patlach klaska tomtom
pagan rituals, they give their hearts’ 

kopa liiam.
‘to the devil.’ 

Kamloops Wawa #198

Iaka kopit
‘He stopped’ 

mamuk tamanwas pi iaka chako wash, alta iaka kilapai kopa
doing pagan things and he got baptized, then he went back to’ 

Hirmochinis pi iaka ayu wawa kopa iaka pus iaka wiht
‘Hermogenes and he kept imploring him to also’ 

chako styuil kopa ShK.
‘start praying to Jesus.’ 

— Kamloops Wawa #51

All of these phrases are known in the southern dialect, but it seems to me that that dialect has a more positive sense of t’əmánəwas.

Obviously a major factor here is that the majority of the data we have for this word in the north are from more Christian-influenced sources.

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?