Tlingit gaming songs in CJ

Mike Cleven ironmtn at BIGFOOT.COM
Fri Mar 12 04:58:08 UTC 1999

At 06:59 PM 3/11/99 -0800, David Robertson wrote:
>'The songs had only a few words, long drawn out and repeated, and were
>usually in Chinook Jargon, sometimes in another language.  In June 1892
>when a number of Canadian sealing schooners were seized in Bering Sea and
>brought into Sitka, the crews of Vancouver Islanders and the Sitka Tlingit
>inaugurated a season of gambling that lasted for several weeks, playing
>daylong from morning to evening, although they did not speak each other's
>language and could communicate only in a few words of English or Chinook.
>But they played the same game without difficulty.
>'The Sitkans sang in Chinook Jargon:
>	We have a good heart,
>	You cannot catch us,
>	We will not cheat you.'

Nsaika [iskum] skookum tumtum
Msaika wake klap [nsaika]
Nsaika wake mamook itlokum......

Just a guess at the Jargon lines; "good heart" as in "stout heart" or
"strong heart", "catch us" as in "discover/find what our cards are" and "we
won't play 'hand' [against you]"......

Mike Cleven
ironmtn at

The thunderbolt steers all things.
                           - Herakleitos

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