Ej, uxnem!

This one’s just begging to be translated into Chinuk Wawa:


“Barge Haulers on the Volga” by I.E. Repin (image credit: Wikipedia)

St’at’imc elders told linguist Jan van Eijk one of their colorful memories…

…which made it into his Lillooet dictionary:

Screenshot 2023-01-25 204949

It’s ‘the white men are bad’ song!

To the tune of the “Song of the Volga Boatmen” (“Ej Uxnem”), a popular melody. You’ll recognize it.

I’m already hearing a phrase in my mind that fits the tune:

  • kʰə́ltəs bástən” and,
  • in the northern dialect of Chinook Jargon, “kaltash hwait man”, were both used back in the day.

Any other ideas?

Who’s going to record this hit song?

I can imagine the sense of humour that led to this famous European song being known to St’át’imc people. The lyrics originally have to do with labourers pulling (“lining”) boats along the banks of a river. This was a job done primarily by tribal and Métis people in BC’s fur-trade and frontier era. Maybe some White boss felt this tune come to mind, and shared it with the fellas doing all the work?

Looks like it came back to haunt him 😏

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?