“Potlatch” is not Chinook for “potlatch”

This post is a polemical claim, a challenge to my readers. The realization has been building in my mind for years…Iʹm none too sure Iʹve ever seen potlatch used in Chinook Jargon to mean… Continue reading

Assimilation’s Agent: My Life As a Superintendent in the Indian Boarding School System

łush ukuk buk: Someone has shown the fine judgment to publish the memoir of Edwin L. Chalcraft as a book, under a title he might never have come up with: “Assimilation’s Agent: My Life As… Continue reading

5 shorthand symbols no one ever used

“Chinuk pipa” shorthand officially had its own set of numerals, but they were confusing (see here how they were identical to alphabet letters!) Aboriginal writers never used them. Here are 5 number symbols… Continue reading

Chinook for Washington Pioneer.

With, as usual, my suggested translation put between the lines, let’s read from page 1 of the June 2, 1899 issue (volume 13, number 24) of the Mason County [WA] Journal: Chinook for Washington Pioneer.… Continue reading

Something evidently occurred in the Department of Geology, Columbia University

Chinuk Wawa, again as an ipsut-wawa (in-group or secret language): From the Bulletin of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, No. 78 (June 1913), ‘Personal’ column, page v: I’ll throw in my understanding of… Continue reading

Hy-iu-hee-hee & superb local histories

The Harbor History Museum (Gig Harbor, WA) runs a fantastic blog where they chased down in lively detail the history of the Hy-iu-hee-hee (Lots of Fun) bar, restaurant, and cheap motel, founded 1935.… Continue reading

Going to blazes with Chief Andrew

Follow the blazes and the notes tacked to the trees, to get through the woods with Chief Andrew of Chu Chua! Here is how: Chi alta nsaika kilapai kopa Kamlups. Saia nsaika I’ve… Continue reading

Download “The Chinook Jargon and How to Use It”

George C. Shaw’s useful 1909 book “The Chinook Jargon and How to Use It” has been uploaded in a very clean and readable copy by Oregon State University. Go, read, print out, learn.

Stlaashin is a small mystery

Does stlaashin mean “food” or “a giveaway”–“potlatch” even? I came upon this new word in Bishop Durieu’s Bible History; it’s in the story of Daniel and Balthazar (Belshazzar), which incidentally is the source of… Continue reading

Two things I learned today

Thing #1: the characters I knew as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, from the Bible story of a crime against humanity (3 young men thrown into a raging furnace), are also known as Ananias,… Continue reading