Chinook Jargon & Freemasons: “Ours is not a dead language!”

What’s your take on this?  Looks like we can add “Freemason secret language” to the file on Chinook Jargon as “oldtimer’s secret language”, as “code talk”, and as “ipsut wawa” (secret language)! A… Continue reading

Sitka Jimmy in Dawson, Yukon Territory

Chinook Jargon was not actually used very much in the Yukon Territory, despite the impressions you may have gathered from Jack London‘s using it for local colour. That’s why today’s Klondike gold rush-era… Continue reading

Tilikom klaska makuk haws ad, 1902

<Harvey & Bailey. General Merchants, Ashcroft, B.C.> Tilikom klaska makuk haws kopa Ashkroft. The [Indian] people’s store in Ashcroft. — Kamloops Wawa #201 (June 1902), page 143

“Lilly Dale” as sung by Max Irwin

With today’s Chinook Jargon song “Lilly Dale”, I’m getting around to writing what I thought was just another doggerel bit, but turns out to be tangled in a heck of a web of… Continue reading

ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ Boston man always wawa papey!

A colorful firsthand telling of a dangerous scene by a girl who lived through it, to recount it in the fullness of her age. “This was about 1854”, Mrs Parker says, and she provides… Continue reading

Catah mika wake iscum Gabrel yaka mamook pish cope George Jonson house

This pleasant antique piano is here to offset the unpleasant elements in the story that follows. “When Sheridan Was in Oregon” by Turner F[enner] Le(a)vens (Washington Historical Quarterly, July 1925 / 16(3):163-185). Levens/Leavens… Continue reading


A Canadian Indigenous Thanksgiving, for my American readers. I’m grateful for our always growing community of Chinuk Wawa-Chinook Jargon speakers & learners!  

Pioneer chants weird Indian song in Chinook Jargon

In news of a local version of one of the then-popular statewide annual reunions of “old Oregon” pioneers, we have this teaser:      George W. Dunn is the retiring president.  Rev. P.R.… Continue reading

The Mallery Drug Co. ad, 1902

[Edited with more info 11/20/2016 — see end of article.] I’ve been running a thread of Chinook Jargon advertisements, which will be continuing for quite a while due to the plenitude of spots… Continue reading

The local editors of Portland are abusing one another in choice Chinook

     The local editors of Portland, Oregon, are abusing one another in choice Chinook, and such words as “siwash tillicums,”  “mesacha cultus wawa” are freely bandied as if they had a wonderful… Continue reading