Tilakums Katsuk, swastikas, and the Bannock War

There are things I find in my work with old documents that would be disturbing if taken out of context. Some Chinook Jargon dictionaries have swastikas on their covers.  (“It’s an ‘Indian’ symbol!”… Continue reading

Pinchers, real people, and Chinuk Wawa

Study a creole or pidgin language like Chinuk Wawa for a while, and you’ll find little fossils of real people’s way of talking back in the day. I don’t just mean that these… Continue reading

Pit’s Winter

A remarkable document from a Native Chinuk pipa writer. In Kamloops Wawa #152 of May 1897, Father Le Jeune tantalizes us with news of a “curious letter”, apparently illustrated, from Pit N’hinaskret (a.k.a. Pete… Continue reading

Chinook hymn, or, why songs are hard

When you’re called on to translate Chinuk Wawa stuff, hope for a big job. Epigraphers, people who decipher ancient languages, know this. Champollion was able to crack the code of the Egyptian hieroglyphs… Continue reading

Makeup & toiletries in Chinuk Wawa

I can’t resist sharing another article to be filed under “For the Ladies”.  There’s lots of new vocabulary here to add to your dictionaries.* In a long article that, typically for a Christian… Continue reading

Chasing Alexander W. Chase

A nice thing to experience (and it keeps on happening) is to come across someone for the first time, albeit after their passing — and find that they, too, were making notes on… Continue reading

The (Chinook) Marseillaise du whisky

#1 on the Kamloops country chart in the winter of 1897!  70 years before the Beatles retooled the French national anthem for pop use in “All You Need is Love“… Don’t be fooled… Continue reading

Zachariah Mudge

Some interesting bits from a promotional book about unnamed missionaries. No author is named in the volume, but it’s attributed to Zachariah Atwell Mudge, not to be confused with another Pacific NW luminary,… Continue reading

Chinuk man = interpreter

It’s several years since I shared my find of Chinuk man, as the term for “interpreter”, with the then rather smaller Jargon community.  This is a word worth making better known, as this linguistics paper… Continue reading

Blue ruin in Chinuk Wawa

  Another Chinuk Wawa song! A new word! And shoddy anthropology! It’s easy to gin up a short article today, with material like this footnote from Hubert Howe Bancroft: The missionaries, the women of… Continue reading