Blackfeet story

  Around the turn of the century, as they used to call 1900, a lot of Indigenous people were recorded as talking a mixture of pidgin English and Chinook Jargon. Here’s an Okanagan… Continue reading

Halo jawbone

At evening we walked up to Geary’s ranch, which he ” runs ” as a kind of hotel for the few travellers who pass this way. Conspicuous on the wall of the only… Continue reading

When your grandpa isn’t your chúp*

( * In honor of chup henli Zenk.) 🙂 When your grandfather isn’t your chúp, what do you call him? I’m not thinking here of the affectionate variants that you can find in… Continue reading

Chinuk Wawa places I visited last week

On my family’s vacation to the central Oregon coast this last week, we visited a number of Chinuk Wawa-named places: I know I’m leaving some out!  There are lots of them in that… Continue reading

Happy belated Victoria day, part 2

Yesterday I shared a Secwepemc girl’s tree-bark (!) postcard congratulating Queen Victoria on her 60th anniversary on the British throne. Today (in shorthand French): how that message was received.      Də d… Continue reading

Happy late Victoria Day from a Secwepemc girl

[Serendipity!  Updated 7/20/2016 when I discovered a clearer copy of her letter, with a French translation backing it up, in the next issue of Kamloops Wawa.] From an Indigenous girl in 1897:    … Continue reading

Girl with copying machine

This verbal portrait comes courtesy of The Prospector newspaper (Lillooet, BC), volume 7, number 7, February 9, 1905, page 3, second column, under the headline “Current Comment” (my comments follow below the image): One of the… Continue reading

Did David Douglas have 2 Jargon names, or 1? Or 3?

File under Chinuk Wawa names: A previous post of mine made a sideways mention of botanical luminary David Douglas’s presumable Chinuk Wawa name.  He was said to be called “Grass Man”, I suppose… Continue reading

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