Sex! Or, why is the “M-word” taboo?

In Chinook Jargon dialects, the word “moosum” (“sleep”) is more or less tabooed. In some, which I associate with the Coast and which I tend to perceive as older, there’s a phrase “tenas moosum”.… Continue reading

Thank you, Public Salon!

I want to put in a note of thanks to a remarkable cultural institution that I’ve recently become acquainted with: Sam Sullivan’s Public Salon in Vancouver, BC. Last week, I spoke at the… Continue reading

He expected Chinook Jargon, he got pidgin Spanish?!

This anecdote from south of the known region that Chinook Jargon was used in (Sacramento, CA) unexpectedly yielded what looks like pidgin Spanish being used by Native people there.  The gentleman in question… Continue reading

“Jumper is Chinook for thief”

I’ve written about the lexical contributions of Chinook Jargon to our Pacific Northwest English.  But here’s a piece about English speakers’ fairly early view of CJ as a kind of slang of its… Continue reading

Racially insensitive verb

I thought of titling this post following my general habit: using the word under discussion.  But in the interests both of warning and enticing potential readers, I went for something more general.  This… Continue reading

Bull teams and steam engines

(Edited 06/08/2016, to correct the year from 1897 to 1896.) This is the colophon of the Kamloops Wawa  newspaper, from the first issue that ran it.  That’d be November 1897, top of page 1.… Continue reading

A trip to Metaline

To paraphrase Daniel Johnston, have you been to Metaline?  If you had visited that mining camp on the BC border in Washington’s first year of statehood, you might have found Chinook Jargon useful.… Continue reading

Roy I. Rochon’s “The Yakama guide who led the first Rainier ascent”

Roy I. Rochon Wilson has a neat historical piece in Centralia, WA’s The Chronicle (“Serving the greater Lewis County , Wash., area since 1889”) Friday, March 8th, 2013.  The biographical note on the author tells… Continue reading

Idle No More

Idle No More! A flash mob singing a Chinook Jargon song at Park Royal shopping centre, West Vancouver, BC. Commenters there (YouTube) have explained the lyrics.

The Grand Tyhee!

In honor and memory of my dad, Bob Robertson, who died a few days ago: While an Alaska State Trooper in the 1960s, Dad wrote a history of law enforcement from territorial days… Continue reading