No Name Available GRADMA at UVVM.UVIC.CA
Thu Aug 5 21:15:54 UTC 1999

Ezra - and anybody else who's interested:

Since I am a Canuck, i.e. a Canadian born and bred, I can refer to my fellow-
Canadians as Canucks without being pejorative. The Gage Canadian gives "1.
Canadian. 2. French Canadian (origin uncertain)" Nothing about slang (though
it's certainly informal) or being offensive (it's all in the tone of voice).
And don't forget that our local hockey team out here is the Vancouver Canucks!

As far as the origin goes, my late supervisor, Harry Scargill, agreed with
the "kanaka" theory. We have a number of kanaka-descended families out here,
especially on Saltspring Island. Their ancestors were indeed boatmen with the
HBC. Harry's reasoning was that since both the Kanakas and the Canadian French
boatmen were dark-skinned, dark-haired and dark-eyed (a lot of the Frenchmen
were Metis, and anyway, constant exposure to the elements would darken the
skin of those who weren't), the Boston traders couldn't tell t'other from
which (an expression of my Yokshire Granmother's)  so they were all Kanakas >
Canucks. "Boston," as I'm sure you know, is the Chinook Jargon word for
Americans. Since the stress falls on the second syllable of both words, it's
not so far-fetched as all that, though I notice that Harry, who worked on the
Gage definitions A through O (I took over at P, when he became ill), din't go
so far as to make this claim in the dictionary - or perhaps it was edited out.
I really don't know.

Is all this any help?

Barbara H.

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