Xwa! Quote from JG Swan, 1857 re kids 'n' ChInuk Wawa

David Robertson drobert at TINCAN.TINCAN.ORG
Wed Mar 24 02:05:20 UTC 1999

WEXt lhaXayEm.

YEkwa ukuk c'Em nayka tIlay tl'ap.  Ya chaku khapa James G. Swan ya bUk
"The Northwest Coast; or, Three Years' Residence in Washington Territory"
(New York tawn:  Harper pi khaphu, tawsEn stuxtkIn-t'EkEmunEk
qwInEm-talhEm pi sInmakwst khul), tIpsu 199:

"One of these girls, a sister of Peter and a niece of old Suis, had a
small trunk full of these rag dolls dressed in all sorts of style, which
she used to parade out whenever her little friends came to see her.  One
day [circa 1853], when a number of these children were there on a visit, I
noticed that they were very busy on the beach, where they seemed engaged
in some very quiet games.  I went where they were seated, and found they
were playing church, and were imitating the Catholic service that they had
seen at Chenook.  One smart little  fellow, about fifteen years old, named
Quel-la'h-ho, was officiating as priest, and had proceeded so far as the
baptism, which at that time he was engaged in, bestowing names on all the
dolls belonging to the party.  He would rattle over the Latin, or what to
him seemed as such, giving the priest's intonations in a most astonishing
manner, and so nearly right that a person at a short distance might
readily suppose he was actually performing the Catholic service.  As the
girls objected to his putting water on their babies, he was using dry sand
instead, and when it came the time to chant, they all joined in in as near
an imitation as they could.

"When I came up they did not observe me till I had watched them some time,
when they all got into the greatest glee, thinking the whole subject a
capital joke.  'Ensika mamook heehee La Plate,' or, 'We are playing
priest,' said they, in answer to my inquiry about what they were doing...

"I later found that this was one of the favorite plays with the children,
and showed how much value the ritual of the Church had either in their
eyes or in their parents', who used to encourage them to mimic the
ceremonies that they had seen at Chenook."

Henry was wondering whether these kids had said something more like "We're
making fun of the priest."  I include Swan's background comments because
they seem to say otherwise.

Along with a quote which Jim Holton unearthed (are you going to post it to
the list, Jim?), we have reliable evidence of children being taught ChInuk
Wawa as early as a century and a half ago, outside of the Grand Ronde
Resevation -- which did not exist yet, right?  The above anecdote
transpires at Shoalwater Bay.  As to what this indicates about
creolization, I'm not the most qualified to say.  It would be really
interesting to hear a more expert opinion!

Lhush chxi pulakli.

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