1921: Prayer Chanted in Indian Opens House Session

I include a clipping of the entire article in case you want to read it…


Joseph Daniel Lee (1848-1927) (image credit: OHS Digital Collections)

But the main event here is the headline and opening information, showing that Chinuk Wawa was accepted as a substitute for the customary Christian invocation to open a session of the Oregon House of Representatives a hundred years ago, at least if a real old-timer was speaking it:

prayer chanted

Prayer Chanted In Indian Opens House Session

Representative [J.D.] Lee of Multnomah [County, where Portland is], in the absence of a chaplain, opened the session of the house of representatives Monday by chanting an Indian prayer in Chinook jargon. Following this, the house got down to business for its final week…

— from the Salem (OR) Capital Journal of February 14, 1921, page 1, column 3

I’m curious about this “chanting” of a “prayer”.

Did Rep. Lee fancy up the well-known Lord’s Prayer that was published in many Chinook Jargon versions?

Did he improvise something of his own in “playing Indian” fashion?

Joseph D. Lee was a former state senator, a realtor, and a 1922 candidate for governor. He was born in the Willamette Valley in 1847, thus a true Webfoot who almost certainly spoke excellent early-creolized Chinuk Wawa…in the style of early Grand Ronde!

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?