[chinuk_illahee_northwest] Re: Henry's followup: Earlylinguists using CJ w/native people? (fwd)

David Robertson drobert at TINCAN.TINCAN.ORG
Wed Mar 10 15:15:09 UTC 1999

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2000 23:25:19 -0800
From: Mike Cleven <ironmtn at bigfoot.com>
To: chinuk_illahee_northwest at egroups.com, chinook at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG
Subject: Re: [chinuk_illahee_northwest] Re: Henry's followup: Earlylinguists         using CJ w/native people? (fwd)

>  *VISIT the archives of the CHINOOK jargon and the SALISHAN & neighboring*
>                     <=== languages lists, on the Web! ===>
>            http://listserv.linguistlist.org/archives/salishan.html
>            http://listserv.linguistlist.org/archives/chinook.html
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2000 02:13:59 -0800
> From: Jeffrey Kopp <jeffkopp at uswest.net>
> To: chinuk_illahee_northwest at egroups.com
> Subject: Re: [chinuk_illahee_northwest] Re: Henry's followup:  Early linguists         using CJ w/native people?
> On Wed, 08 Mar 2000 00:39:15 -0800, "Aron Faegre"
> <faegre at teleport.com> wrote:
> >I've been reading A.B. Meacham's "Wigwam and Warpath" from
> >1875 -- he was Oregon's Superintendent of Indian Affairs just prior
> >to that time.  In his book he describes using Chinook Jargon when
> >meeting with Siletz, Umatilla, Klamath, Grand Round, Snake, Cayuse,
> >Modoc peoples --
> ...
> >Maybe once the need for a trade language was diminished due
> >to the "Boston" peoples wholesale take-over of vast amounts of
> >Oregon's lands and waters, Oregon's Chinook Jargon became
> >functionally a language principally used to accomplish the political
> >and religious goals of the "Boston" people.
> >
> >Is this too cynical a view?  Reading "Wigwam and Warpath"
> >sure makes it seem that way.
> >
> >Aron Faegre
> I have considered that question, too.  You may be right.  When
> beginning construction of my Jargon Web site I was concerned that
> Native Americans might not welcome exposition of the Jargon for
> reasons along those lines, and proceeded with some caution.  I did
> not wish to offend sensitivities about history, politics or culture,
> nor bring up any painful memories in a clumsy fashion.
> When the Tenas Wawa articles were added I was impressed that along
> with the loving nostalgia Duane holds for the Jargon, he was also
> frank in describing its perfunctory use to expedite the treaty
> "negotiations" of the mid-19th century.  This insight helped to
> balance my view.
> I was pleased and relieved when favorable response began to come from
> some Native Americans and descendants, though it is noteworthy in
> retrospect that over the past two years this response has come solely
> from the Grand Ronde community, where the Jargon endured and became
> part of their unique multitribal society, and from assimilated
> descendants eager to rediscover some of their heritage.  Otherwise,
> the Jargon Web site has been met with total silence from the Native
> community.

Not entirely, Jeff; though not as much locally as from beyond the
region.  Both your sites and mine are linked at various quite
authentically-native websites, including of course many of the
language-directory sites, with no negative criticism; I think we're even
both listed at www.dickshovel.com, one of the more intensely
political/cultural of all native websites/directories.  From at least a
few people who run those sites, I've had a few un-negative (positive,
actually) emails, and no doubt you have as well.  I think the difference
is between people who've actually looked at the sites, and those who've
made a point of (as you say) ignoring them - and so perhaps never even
looked.  And also between those for whom the Jargon has a meaning, and
those who don't, or who may not wish it to.  If our websites and the
small (but hopefully still growing) online Jargon community manage to
bring together those who _are_ interested, for whatever connection to
their personal or professional or cultural background there may be; and
given that there are natives from beyond Grand Ronde already in our
group I think that says something right there; it's a community of
people interested in the Jargon, of any culture, and who wish to learn
to use it, if only for the edification -of-those-interested-.

The Web makes possible a community across distance, the electric
village, where people with common interests and skills can collaborate
and communicate and, in the case of different languages, converse.  For
those spread out distantly who wish to share a language together, it is
the perfect medium; others of any culture may and will want no part of
it for whatever reason or unreason.  Web community is a gathering, not
of thorns, but of tsee tupso, ticky tumtum (sweet grasses, one hopes).
The Jargon was spoken by people of all nations who lived here; those few
of us who remember it still are of the same mix of peoples, including
those people of mixed descent themselves (as many of us are, although
not myself), perhaps representatively so if we looked at a mini-census;
as, perhaps, is the essence of the Wawa in the long run.  Wawa kopa
wawa, a language for talking.  Kopa klonas-klonas kumtux kahkwa.  With
whomever knows how.  Pe ticky tly.  And wants to try.  Kopa konaway
tillikums (among all peoples)........

What I'm saying is that what's important is the people who DO have some
regard for the Jargon, not those who disregard it, or would know nothing
of it.  Some people like country music, some don't; so it is with
language and even perspectives on history.  Okook Jargon ahnkuttie
mamook kopa mamook wawa konamoxt tillikums; this Wawa was made for
making talk between peoples.  Kopa mamook, kopa mahkook, kopa wawa -,
klonas kopa mamook shantie.  Kahkwa wake?

> So I'd have to say that, judging from my limited perspective of email
> response and the friends I've made on-line, the Jargon remains of
> interest to only a select few in both the native and non-native
> communities.  I surmise that some Native Americans may indeed regard
> it as irrelevant, if not negatively.  Perhaps someday I'll get to
> meet some people from a bit further outside of our circle and find
> out.  But at least the Web site has drawn no criticism yet, so I
> believe that to date at least it hasn't offended anyone.  (I hope.)

A few weeks ago concerning my Bridge River-Lillooet history page
(http://members.home.net/cayoosh/, soon to be http://www.cayoosh.net/) I
was contacted by someone who'd worked on this famous old road up there.
He wound up ICQing me when I had it on the other night, and we wound up
messaging back and forth for a bit.  Aside from heaps of whodyaknow and
whenwasthats, and didyaknowsoandsos, I said "hey, you were up there back
in those days, do ya know any Jargon?".  And that's fer damshur he did!
His father had been fluent, and he half-spoke it himself, and remembers
that other guys up there did as well.  His father had moved to BC in
(IIRC) 1919 and themselves to BC in 1942; the list of BC towns they
lived in was an interesting one; all in which the Jargon would have been
useful, or at least known.  In speaking with Dave earlier tonight by
phone (at last) we discussed a bit how there hasn't been much actual
work done on researching the history of Jargon among non-natives (and/or
including "part-natives", perhaps; "Metis" isn't quite a fit here so
someone please suggest a better term).  Seems safer, perhaps '-) but
also perhaps more than a bit interesting.  The guy I spoke with is only
about 65 or so, and he knows his own father spoke it fluently
_as_a_20th_Century_immigrant_ to BC - from another part of Canada
(Manitoba) in this case.  And this was post-Great War, which varies from
the Major Matthews and other accounts of Jargon usage go.  It's started
to have me wondering exactly how extensive non-native Jargon usage might
have been, and _who's_still_out_there_.  I get emails from time to time
from people whose family knew the Jargon, or had once spoken a bit
themselves.  There's a hidden "community" out there, and as Dave noted
to me, an actual field of study.

People find in the Web what they go looking for; and it's the people
that _are_ looking that should be the ones we're concerned about.

The truth is out there, I guess......as Jim Holton commented about my
thoughts the other day, like most Vancouverites I've been watching too
much X-files (can't help it; it's on 17 times a day).  Speaking of which
(nah, just kidding).

Sally Thomason's post about how kid's playroom pidgin was the last
"pure" holdout of American Indian Pidgin English.  In a sense, it's true
that the survival of the ideoms of the Jargon survived in somewhat
"pure" (is there such a thing as somewhat pure?) form within regional
English, the handful of words that are part of the cadence and feel of
local speech; and in the "French loanwords" (Jargon loanwords, actually)
that pepper the traditional languages of the region.

One last thing in this hiyu wawa pepah of mine; wanted to suggest that
we try ICQ or Dave Lewis' chinook-chat space at egroups.com on some kind
of scheduled basis.  Mamook type okook wawa.  Wake kunjih?

Mike C.
kilapi kopa keekwulee illahee

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