1909: Miss Emma Rainey and Chinook onstage?

Mystifying to find Chinuk Wawa in a Los Angeles newspaper!

emma rainey

Image credit: page 13 of the same newspaper issue)

Was Emma Rainey using Jargon onstage? Shoshone people have never been strongly associated with this language, at least not since early Oregon Trail days.

The notice of her on page 13 of the same paper is pure English, but look at this from page 20:

rainey 1

rainey 2

Grease paint has finally put one over
on war paint.

The which is amply demonstrated by
Miss Emma Rainey, the full-blood
Shoshone maid who is one of the Big
Hyas Wawas of the Orpheum Potlach
this week.

And to those who trail her to the
Big Wigwam during the week, Nesika
Cumtux she is a Rattling Kloshe
Siwash. Which is merely compli-
mentary Chinook for a “Good Indian.”
And all this without the slightest
disrespect. For Miss Rainey is good
to look upon, good to hear.

If one were to insert here a maga-
zine description of a latter-day hero-
ine, it might fit Miss Rainey very
aptly. But it is enough to say that this
little Shoshone Miss has a pair of
Seahhosts that sparkle like diamonds
in a dark limpid pool and lips of
Amoteh hue from which Yaka Wawa
flow with the honeyfied cadence of the

And besides these Miss Rainey has
Hyu other physical attractions.
Miss Rainey was born at Pocatello,
Idaho, just Tahtlum plus Stolekin [sic] 
years ago. That is, she will be 21
years old three years hence.
Miss Rainey is a Carlisle graduate
and is a modest little American of real

Up in Pocatello they still talk of the
Dusky Maid who used to Abs-ka-la-lab
illustrated songs in a moving picture
show. And, when the Orpheum net
was spread, her mother said “Na-
witka.” and her Pa-pa (and that’s a’ [sic] 
real Indian word) said “Yes.” That
settled it.

“I like the stage,” says Miss Rainey.
“Everywhere theatergoers have been
so kind to me in my efforts to please.
I have been on the stage but four
months, but I have really grown to
like it.”

That Miss Rainey is possessed of
dramatic ability in no slight degree is
demonstrated during that scene of “A
Modern Pocahontas” In which Hawk-
Eye, the half-breed, attempts to stick
a Kwe-we-ki into the captive’s back.

— from “In the Spotlight” by Lemuel Parton in the Los Angeles (CA) Herald of April 4, 1909, page 20, column 5

Maybe the LA columnist just stopped by the library and looked up several Chinook Jargon words to liven up his writing. This would fit into the common Settler cultural idea that thought of all Native people as speaking CJ.

I’ve decided not to translate the bits of Chinook here, so you can do the same if you need to know what they mean!

qʰata mayka təmtəm?
What do you think?