Why did _Kamloops Wawa_ go unresearched for so long? (fwd)

David Robertson drobert at TINCAN.TINCAN.ORG
Tue Mar 2 15:46:53 UTC 1999

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 20:53:40 PST
From: Mike Cleven <mike_cleven at hotmail.com>
To: drobert at TINCAN.TINCAN.ORG
Cc: chinuk_illahee_northwest at egroups.com
Subject: Re: Why did _Kamloops Wawa_ go unresearched for so long?

>LhaXayEm.  Qhata mEsayka, khanawi-lhaksta?
>A seemingly simple question:
>Why did _Kamloops Wawa_ go largely unresearched for such a long time?
>The first person I know of to look into it very much is Zvjezdana Vrzic,
>circa 1998.
>The question is interesting because apparently _Kamloops Wawa_ is by far
>the largest corpus of CJ.
>My thoughts, briefly:
>*Because _KW_ was written down by a White man, it's "not authentic" CJ.
>*_KW_ is perceived as having had religious, not scientific purposes.  Thus
>it's unfit material for rigorous study.
>Any thoughts?

Do I dare?

I think the "written down by a white man" idea isn't quite right; the
Duployan was leplet-mamook (priest-derived), but wasn't much of the actual
in-publication content written out by parishioners, usually women?  Maybe a
handwriting-oriented person might be able to distinguish which sections were
written by the clerics and which by their native assistants; probably which
sections were written by "scribe a", "scribe b", "priest 1", "priest 2",
etc. could be discerned.  I'd imagine that the gospels and weird stuff like
the Seven Kings of Rome were priest-written, but the folksy content - public
announcements, community news, etc. - were probably written out by
parishioners.  Anyone know any handwriting experts?

This relates to the "thoughts on the KW" I mentioned earlier (not sure if
that got posted or not); I think the creation of a separate script for
native users of the Jargon helped in the process of the Jargon's
"ghettoization" from a broadly-based regional/interethnic tongue into a
largely native-only one by distinguishing the native written form from the
non-native conventions; this was I think somewhat deliberate on the part of
the priests, who wished to separate their Catholic flock AMAP (as much as
possible) from the larger Protestant milieu of British Columbia.  I get the
feeling that KW was really a "last hurrah" rather than a "great flowering"
of the Jargon; beautiful though the Duployan is it seems to have diverted
the Jargon into a relative dead-end; removed it one step further from the
multicultural/multilanguage discourse that had given it birth.  Not long
after, of course, the use of ANY native language (incl. the Jargon) in the
same diocese's schools and services was forbidden.  I think this wasn't the
case in some parishes, e.g. I know at Shalalth services were held
simultaneously in Latin, English, St'at'imcets and Chinook; must have taken
a long time, Catholic Mass being already pretty long to start with esp.
pre-Vatican II.

Ironically, around the same time the Duployan came into vogue among Catholic
native speakers of the Jargon, there was a simultaneous popularization of
the Jargon among non-natives as a result of the pamphlet-lexicons published
for Klondikers and other new settlers/colonists; but these were in Roman
script, not Duployan; to mee this seems like an unfortunate divergence
between the two "schools" of Jargon usage.  The Kamloops Wawa, had it been
published in Roman script, might have been more accessible to non-native
readers, and certainly would have been easier to study and considered less
arcane in later times.

The laws forbidding use of the Jargon in schools also seemed to coincide
with the deaths of the "lost generation" non-native speakers of the Jargon
from BC, whose knowledge of the Jargon died in the fields of Flanders.....

I won't continue, because I know some people don't like long posts :-|

Mike C.

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