A map of Fraser River gold-rush placenames is illuminating

In 2012, Andrew Nelson and Michael Kennedy published a good article in the highly readable journal, BC Studies, that they titled “Fraser River Gold Mines and Their Place Names”.  (BC Studies 172 (Winter 2011-2012):105-125.)  It comes… Continue reading

Proof of Chinuk Wawa use in brand-new Seattle

This post is short and sweet to create: “New York Markook House“, the newspaper advertisement is headlined.  Seattle was originally called New York.  (The more distinctive “New New York” presumably was clunky!)  It… Continue reading

Cathlamet on the Columbia

“Cathlamet on the Columbia: Recollections of the Indian people and short stories of the early pioneer days in the valley of the lower Columbia River“, by Thomas Nelson Strong (The Holly Press, Portland… Continue reading

A.C. Garrett’s lost Anglican manuscript in Chinook

Chinook Jargon lore abounds with tales of lost resources.  There’s the pre-shorthand attempt to write CJ in Cree/Dene-style syllable symbols: Some 500 ‘books’ of such syllabic productions were said to have existed in the late… Continue reading

What do you call a meteorite in Chinook Jargon?

Bobby, I don’t know (this is paraphrasing James Brown because we are talking about rock history), but whatsoever I call it, I got to make it “Tomanowas“.  Chinook Wawa history is stone soul… Continue reading

Another new discovery: SMOKE HOUSE = aboriginal Indian houses

SMOKE HOUSE = aboriginal-style Northwest Coast plank houses. Credit for this one goes to Dale McCreery, my absolutely crackerjack University of Victoria linguistics colleague. We don’t have this phrase in any of the… Continue reading

The People are Dancing Again, or, Hire a Linguist

An excellent book can be made more excellent by hiring a linguist.  Today I’m commenting briefly about: The People are Dancing Again: The History of the Siletz Tribe of Western Oregon, by Charles Wilkinson… Continue reading

Another famous CJ speaker: choreographer Merce Cunningham

I’ve been seeing to it that public access to the awesome CHINOOK-L archive is restored; bookmark it for your questions about Jargon.  One of the last messages in that older listserv that I… Continue reading

A Siwash Knot

“A Siwash Knot” — Charles Suimptken’s and Harriet Quinpitcher’s wedding announcement from Twisp, WA ran as a curio — I know! — in The Ledge (with which is incorporated the Boundary Creek Times), out of Greenwood,… Continue reading

Another frontier newspaper vocabulary of Chinook Jargon

One of the first newspapers in Washington Territory was the Seattle Weekly Gazette. For the benefit of new arrivals, its volume 1, number 25 (August 6th, 1864) carries a Chinook Jargon vocabulary on page 4, occupying columns… Continue reading