McBeth, "Nez Perces Since Lewis and Clark"

David Robertson ddr11 at COLUMBIA.EDU
Mon Feb 7 02:42:12 UTC 2005

McBeth, Kate C.  1908.  The Nez Perces Since Lewis and Clark.  New York:
Fleming H. Revell Co.

The author was a Protestant missionary among the Nez Perces from about 1876
to 1903.  She writes a great deal about her and other missionaries'
learning and use of the Nez Perce language; she includes some hymns and
prayers in the language.  Plenty of useful historical and ethnographic
details are here, told to her "in the language" by Nez Perce elders.

The term "King George's men" is much used throughout the text with
reference to British subjects including the HBC.  I also notice Potlatch
Creek was already called that by 1908.  The one reference to Chinook Jargon
being used is on page 152:

"Mrs. Joe tried hard to talk to me, in broken English, or Chinook."

The broken (pidgin?) English is quoted, the CJ is not.  A couple other
people are represented as talking imperfect English.  Everyone else Native
is depicted as communicating with the missionaries in Nez Perce.  The
author seems to have been fairly sensitive to the various political
currents in the tribe while she was there, so she paints a pretty nuanced
picture of their modern lives.  This book might be a good reference for
certain research on the Nez Perce people or on CJ in the Inland NW.

--Dave R

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