My dad was a Chinook interpreter

Oct. 18th, 2017 02:38 pm
[syndicated profile] chinookjargon_feed

Posted by chinookjargon

Heck of a story.

Parks and Redwoods, 1919-1971: Oral history transcript” is “an interview” of Newton Bishop Drury (1889-1978) “conducted by Amelia Roberts Fry and Susan Schrepfer. It’s at the Bancroft Library of the University of California – Berkeley.

Drury and Eleanor Roosevelt

NB Drury next to Eleanor Roosevelt

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a swell portrait of NBD in the book by none other than renowned photographer Ansel Adams, but I like the above image with Marian Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt.

This fella’s dad, Wells Drury, grew up in Oregon at just the right time. Born September 16, 1851 in New Boston, Illinois, he lived there a grand total of two months before the family upped and emigrated to Oregon Territory, and eventually to Washington Territory.

Which is why the son was able to recount some interesting family lore about territorial times. His dad Wells was appointed by the President as a Chinuk Wawa interpreter–at age 10.

This is where it helps to be a critical reader…

The claim that Wells interpreted at Isaac Stevens’s Medicine Creek Treaty negotiations has to be mistaken (he would’ve been 3 years old), but maybe it’s a family memory of Wells’s stepfather Elbert Elder helping out on the sidelines there. On the official document only Benjamin F. Shaw is listed in that capacity, but a number of other whites present knew Jargon and are known to have assisted informally.

The transcript claims young Wells went on to interpret in a war with the Warm Springs (Oregon) Indians. If this refers to the 1877 Nez Perce war, it’s plausible. Otherwise, it’s likely another time-ravaged memory of Elbert Elder from the several 1850’s Indian wars in the Pacific Northwest.

Abe Lincoln and General US Grant, who we’ve seen on my website previously, show up:

From Indian Interpreter to Printer

Drury: One of the earlier experiences of my father up in
Washington Territory, where they moved from Oregon,
was as an Indian interpreter when he was ten years
old during the Lincoln administration, during negotia-
tions for the Medicine Creek Treaty.

Fry: That was pretty young, wasn’t it, to be an employee of
the Federal government?

Drury: Yes. His foster father, Elbert Elder, had been a
neighbor of Abraham Lincoln in their youth in Sangamon
County, Illinois. When Lincoln was elected, Mr. Elder
wrote to him; I suppose he asked for a government job
or something he could do. And having confidence in him,
Abraham Lincoln appointed him as interpreter to the
tribes that speak the Chinook jargon; they are along the
Washington coast. He was asked to name deputies. My
father as a boy had mastered the Chinook speech; they


Drury: called it jargon. It was a sort of pidgin English, I
think, or at least it was a rather elementary language.
Elder wrote that he would like to appoint his stepson,
who was then about ten years old. And after consider- 
able argument about it he was appointed.

Fry: Do you have any letters now in your files about that?

Drury: I have a copy of the letter that my father wrote to a
cousin, Marion Drury, in 1872. It was addressed from
Monmouth, Oregon, and it gave the history of this ap-

Fry: I was wondering if there would be any Abraham Lincoln
letters in the files.

Drwry: I don’t think so. One of the unfortunate things is
that in the Berkeley fire, I believe in 1924, my
father’s scrapbook, which had a tremendous amount of
interesting material, was burned along with the other
family records. The things we have now were either
gathered afterwards from his sisters or were in the
files of the Drury Advertising Company in San Francisco.

Fry: That’s an argument for getting these things put in an
archives library as soon as possible.

Drury: That convinced me, yes.

Fry: How did your father happen to learn this Chinook jargon?

Drury: Oh, I think by playing with the Indian boys.

Fry: There was a lot of free socializing, then, between the
Indian families and the white?

Drury: Oh, I imagine so, yes. I don’t think they were one of
the most highly developed tribes. One of the things I
remember was that my father had a hole in the muscles of
one of his legs which he said came from having been struck
by a spear that some angry Indian had thrown at him. It
wasn’t an Indian war, but it was a quarrel and he got


Drury: this wound. Something had happened that the Indian
didn’t like. Maybe he thought he hadn’t gotten a good
deal from the government, or something. Nothing
serious. I notice in these papers–I have no recollection
of my father talking about it [–] a letter from a Mr. Owen
to his friend or relative, a Mr. Pottol, telling the
fact that my father was engaged in some of the Indian
wars in the early days. This letter was addressed from
Oakland, California, to Mrs. Laura Leed Pottol’s father.
It says that “One of my boyhood associates, Wells Drury,
became a captain in the state militia, and was sent east
of the mountains to fight the Warm Springs Indians who
had started on the warpath. He knew enough to hold
their confidence and was quite influential in getting
the Indians to return to the reservation without a
fight . ”

Apropos of that, I remember my father talking about
his days in the militia, including a visit that they had
from General U.S. Grant when he was touring the West.
He mentioned the fact that they were in their best uni-
forms and all spruced up. Grant looked at him and he
said, “Young fellow, in all my military career I never
had as fine a uniform as you have.” (Laughter) Grant
wasn’t noted for his military spic and span qualities.
I think it happened up at Olynpia in Washington; that’s
where they had their headquarters for the Indian service. (pages 8-10)

Do any of my readers have family stories that involve Chinook Jargon?

new Penric novella upcoming

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:29 am
[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
I am pleased to report I have finished the first draft of a new Penric & Desdemona novella, sequel to "Mira's Last Dance". Title is decided all but one vowel -- I'll add it when my aesthetic waffling concludes. About 46,980 words.

I plan to have cover art by Ron Miller again, of which I will post a sneak peek in due course.

Still the final revision pass to go, plus waiting on comments from two test readers -- I really should wait for the latter before doing the former. I can occupy myself devising vendor-page copy while I wait, I suppose.

This e-publication thing is getting frighteningly fast, in part because a lot of little things which were baffling decisions or upward learning curves first round are now set templates which only need replicated.

I'm thinking e-pub in November, but we'll see. I had originally planned this as my winter project, but it got its legs under it in August and hardly stopped till FIN on Monday.

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on October, 18

The Key Didn't Work: a question

Oct. 18th, 2017 05:57 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

So much of my life as a disabled person revolves around bathroom issues. Is it accessible, can I get into the stall and close the door, how heavy is the door into the bathroom - will it break my footrests, can I use the toilet, where are the bars, and the like. Then there's the need I have to simply not being a jerk and not thinking my disability needs trump anyone else's need. It's a physical and emotional and cognitive challenge just to get around, just to use the toilet, the most basic of needs.

I'm staying in a wonderful hotel, with an amazing room and welcoming staff. The public washrooms though aren't so great. Many I can't get my chair in the stall and none are good for going number 2, for that I need to go to my room. I can make this work.

On our first day here, we checked in early and then used our time differently. Joe went to pick up beer, I went to the gym. The gym has some accessible equipment and I really wanted to get some real exercise in. I'd done about an hour work out and then had to go to the bathroom. The key card did not open the bathroom in the gym and I was afeared that it wouldn't work in the room either. I headed downstairs with a bit of urgency.

There were hundreds of people checking in and the line up were long. I knew from the morning the the concierge was able to check people in so I went to his desk. There were three people in front of me. I had to go to the bathroom, I couldn't use any of the public bathrooms and my key to my room wasn't working. I'm getting increasingly panicked.

The women in front of me all looked very nice. They all looked understanding. But they also looked tired from travel and that they'd been patiently waiting their turn. I had to fight down the urge to ask to just get my key card redone so I could go to my room and thus go to the bathroom which I really needed to do.

I don't like, and I know you won't believe this, talking about my bathroom needs with real, in the flesh, strangers. I don't like the idea of them thinking that I'm thinking that my need is bigger and more important than theirs. I don't like the possibility that they may think I'm using my disability to get to the head of the line. I don't like any of those things, but mostly I don't want to be thought a needy jerk, a man who puts himself before others.

So, I waited my turn. With moist eyes I told the concierge what it was I needed and it was fixed quickly and I was up in my room in moments. Thank heavens.

I've faced the bathroom issue pretty much every day since becoming disabled. It's the balancing act I'm wondering about. Do any of you have issues when needing something disability related, that non disabled people don't worry about - like bathroom access, and worrying about how to deal with the balance between your needs and the needs of others?

John Henry and universal health care

Oct. 17th, 2017 11:10 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

"Muscular Christianity" is rooted in fear -- specifically in fear of the physically stronger, and more numerous, working class. Muscular Christianity took that fear and responded by saying, "We'd better starting working out."

Fibre in your diet

Oct. 17th, 2017 08:01 pm
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Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Socktober is still a thing over here. I had a brief dalliance with the beginnings of a shawl at Knit City, but it didn’t quite take hold, though it might have stood a chance but for Megan. My mum loved clothes shopping and did heaps of it for all of us, so I was trying to be a good grandmother, and asked her what Elliot needed. She answered that he could use a sleeper or two, and that she likes the ones with feet. I went shopping, and had trouble finding footed ones that would fit him. (Being of average weight for his age but of a rather diminutive stature, our wee lad is a bit of a square.) I bought the one footed one I could find, and two that didn’t have feet, and forked them over to Meg. When I did, she mentioned that the reason she likes the footed ones is because his little feet get so cold at night and then she said maybe he needed more booties or socks or something like that and I felt a feeling that must be exactly like the way sharks feel when they pour the buckets of chum in the water.

I went the knitter equivalent of bananas. It was all I could think of. Babies are enough to set me off, but the thought of a cold baby who could only be saved by knitting? Lunatic. I was a lunatic with wool. My grandson had cold feet and I was unstoppable. Hours later:

littleblueonestoo 2017-10-17 greenalldone 2017-10-17

One pair with ribbed cuffs and a stockinette foot, and another pair where I kept the ribbing going on the top of the sock, and gave way to stockinette on only the bottom. (No pattern, though you can find lots on Ravelry if you look – wait, I did it for you. These ones by Kate Atherley look perfect.) The good news is that not only are his feet warm, they fit just fine:

greensockson 2017-10-17

Maybe a little big, but he’s growing fast, and they are apparently delicious.

greenoneisgoodtoo 2017-10-17 delicioussocks 2017-10-17

The green ones especially.

The Halloweena Indians

Oct. 17th, 2017 05:27 pm
[syndicated profile] chinookjargon_feed

Posted by chinookjargon

Halloween tribe

(Image credit: YouTube)

For another seasonally appropriate article, turn out the lights and draw close as I tell you about…the Halloweena Indians.


On a cold day when white people were still outnumbered in the Oregon country…

Challouina or Halloweena are recorded by John Work in his journal for November and December, 1824 (previously mentioned). The expedition is now on the Black river making its way from the Chehalis river to Eld Inlet. Here they meet Indians and under date of December 1. Work narrates: “Since we have been here several of the Halloweena Indians from the neighboring village have visited us. Their mode of life, manners, language, etc., differ little from the Chihailis, indeed, they may be considered as a detached part of that tribe.” Wilkes, of the United States Exploring Expedition, 1841, describes them as the Sachal Indians. I. I. Stevens (Pac. Ry. Reports) mentions them as the Squaiaitl. (“Journal of Occurrences at Nisqually House, 1833“, ed. by Clarence Bagley, page 196)

Oh, that’s about it.

The Halloweena nation was a synonym for the Upper Chehalis.

Why do I mention it?

I’m waiting for you to catch on…

…Okay, I’ll let the cat out of the bag.

Halloweena was an early spelling of the Chinuk Wawa word that you may know better as x̣lúyma, hulloima, etc., meaning “different, other, strange”.

It’s as if the people who worked and lived around the Hudson’s Bay Company Fort Nisqually referred in Jargon to the nearby Upper Chehalis Salish folks, who spoke a different language from the local southern Lushootseed, “the other Indians”.

Spooky how similar it is to the word Halloween, eh?

There’s no connection whatsoever, sorry kid. Don’t soap my windows!

The Airport Ritual

Oct. 17th, 2017 04:21 pm
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Posted by Evan Stewart

This weekend I was at the annual conference for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, where they held a memorial for sociologist Peter Berger. I thought of Berger and Luckmann’s classic The Social Construction of Reality in the airport on the way home. Whenever people say ritual is dying out, or socially constructed things “aren’t real,” I think of airport lines.

There are always two lines, but rarely any separation other than a sign like this. If you’re lucky, you can catch the gate agent making a big show of opening the “general boarding” lane, but everyone ends up at the same scanner right past the sign (usually only a minute or two after the “elite” passengers). From Berger and Luckmann (the Anchor Books paperback edition):

The developing human being not only interrelates with a particular natural environment, but with a specific cultural and social order which is mediated to him by the significant others who have charge of him (p. 48).

The symbolic universe orders and thereby legitimates everyday roles, priorities, and operating procedures…even the most trivial transactions of everyday life may come to be imbued with profound significance (p. 99).

Evan Stewart is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Minnesota. You can follow him on Twitter.

(View original at

Conversations With My Penis

Oct. 17th, 2017 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Today I realized, with some urgency, that the inside my head talks with my penis have really changed over time. When I was in my teens the conversations went like this:

Hi, I'm here looking up at you, wanna play? Wanna play?

No, bad penis, bad penis, I'm in public.

Come on, come on, it will feel good. You like to play.

No, stop it leave me alone.

Now that I'm nearly 65 the conversations go like this:

Gotta pee, gotta pee, gotta pee.

I'm in the line up for security, wait a minute.

No, no waiting, gotta pee, gotta pee.

Alright I'm through, I'm on my way to the toilet.
NOW. How about I go a little now?

NO Wait ... Shit.

This, this, they never taught me in sex education. This, this is why you need to learn about your body across the lifespan, not just when you are young. Excuse me while I go change.
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

French, like many other vocal "conservatives," doesn't understand what consent means and doesn't understand it's moral significance. Specifically, he's deeply confused about the distinction between necessary and sufficient.
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Posted by chinookjargon

A sort of speculative piece for you today…

needle hearts

(Image credit:

tsiĥ-tomtom ‘shrewd’ is in Father St Onge’s Chinuk Wawa dictionary manuscript of 1892. That’s literally ‘sharp-heart’. In modern Grand Ronde tribal spelling it would be tsíx-tə́mtəm, although it’s not in their dictionary. This phrase got me thinking.

It brings to mind the north Idaho tribal name “Coeur d’Alene“, famously said to come from French “heart of an awl” and connoting that Salish group’s acuity in bargaining. Hmm.

A question I hadn’t considered before — exactly who called the tribe that? This is not the native Coeur d’Alene name for themselves…in their Salish language it’s snchitsu’umsh. And most of their neighbors know them by that name. Which has nothing to do with hearts; it means ‘the ones who were discovered’.

  • Could CdA (as we sometimes say locally, when we’re abbreviating what’s locally pronounced “Korda Lane”) be a translation from a Native metaphor?
  • Or did French-Canadians in the fur trade use such expressions?
  • Both could be the case, of course.

I have not found such an expression elsewhere in Chinuk Wawa, having searched the usual pile of reference materials. That’s a little surprising because the Jargon famously has a lot of idioms involving kinds of ‘heart’. I realize they’re not cross-indexed under tə́mtəm in your Grand Ronde dictionary so maybe you haven’t quite grasped the range of its uses, so here are some for you:

  • sáx̣ali-tə́mtəm literally ‘high-heart’ ‘feeling good, in good humor; awake’ (Kamloops usage: ‘arrogant’)
  • sík-tə́mtəm literally ‘hurting-heart’ ‘sorry, sad’
  • ɬúsh-tə́mtəm literally ‘good-heart’ ‘be glad, in good humor, happy’
  • iht tomtom literally ‘one heart’ (Kamloops) ‘in agreement; resolved’
  • mokst tomtom literally ‘two hearts’ (Kamloops) ‘dubious, doubt’
  • ayu tomtom literally ‘many hearts’ (Kamloops) ‘confused’
  • iktas tomtom literally ‘belongings-heart’ (Kamloops) ‘materialistic’

There are plenty more. Not just in the Jargon, but in the Native languages.

I suspect a lot of the Native “heart” metaphors escaped documentation in the various languages. For example, just three or so of these are to be found under ‘think ( /heart)’ in the Upper Chehalis Salish dictionary:

  • ‘good-hearted’
  • ‘brave person’ (literally ‘big/grown-up heart’)
  • ‘bad character’ (‘bad heart’)

But the languages that we have anything like actual usage data from confirm that ‘heart’ metaphors were common. Look in Boas’s [Lower Chinookan language] “Chinook Texts” book, searching for ‘heart’, and you see quite a variety of these expressions (I’m just giving literal translations to keep this simple):

  • ‘not good Bluejay his heart’ (page 12)
  • ‘tired gets my heart’ (page 12)
  • ‘my heart lonesome it got’ (page 22)
  • ‘dry became his heart’ (page 71)
  • ‘liberal his heart’ (page 267)

Could coeur d’alène have been a set expression beforehand in French? I’m not the expert but I put in some effort searching Google with the language settings changed to French, and I come away with the impression that the phrase first shows up in reference to the tribe. Maybe one of my francophone readers can contribute some wisdom.

Well, I haven’t definitively proven anything with this exercise, but my contribution today is a hypothesis that “Coeur d’Alene” is more a Native metaphor than a French one.

[syndicated profile] advancedstyle_feed

Posted by Ari Seth Cohen

g63a7242Iris: We’ve been together 70 years. We met through friends in the city and I got him a date with my boyfriend’s sister. Then, I liked him and I called him up for dinner, and three months later and we were engaged. It was love at first sight.
The secret to staying together for so long is an attraction that starts in the very beginning and stays there.

We haven’t had it that difficult, we never really fight. We’ve never had a big fight. Have we?

Leonard: No.

Iris: No, never. We get along really well.

Leonard: Yeah, I do what she wants!

Iris: My father told him the secret to a good marriage with me would be to do everything I want (chuckles), always say yes, and he does! It’s a long time. I’m more in love than ever because we are together all the time, we are never apart. We are absolutely always together and we really never been apart.

The post Advanced Love: Iris and Leonard Kaplan appeared first on Advanced Style.

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Posted by sobia

This post is related, but only slightly, to the Nouman Ali Khan (NAK) scandal (in which a religious leader used his power to harass and threaten women, as MMW explored in a recent roundtable). I don’t want to talk about NAK, but I do want to talk about the idea of spiritual abuse, a concern which has come to light as a result of the actions of this particular spiritual leader.

Across social media spiritual abuse has been explained as a spiritual leader’s use of their power in the community to control and manipulate followers. AltMuslim recently published a helpful piece on how to recognize a spiritual abuser. They write:

“Spiritual abusers leverage religion as a way of securing personal power over our consciousness. They use God as the basis for their claims against our will, and use the community’s needs as a claim against our rights.”

Additionally they state:

“An imposter or spiritual abuser, on the other hand, is intensely and methodically dedicated to the cultivation of an image, a disguise, a false personality — not necessarily to perhaps conceal their true selves from others but worse, to control them.”

All this is true and as a community we would be wise to heed their words of advice. However, I believe this definition and conceptualization of spiritual abuse is incomplete. In fact, I believe that by omitting other forms of spiritual abuse, our efforts to combat the type of spiritual abuse outlined in the AltMuslim article, will not be useful.

Word map created on Word it Out.


Spiritual abuse is using religion to control or manipulate others’ behaviours and thoughts, and it can be done by anyone. It is using religion to instill a type fear and guilt in others that leads to self-hatred or self-shame. Spiritual abuse occurs when one’s freedom to choose their relationship with God is discouraged and replaced with the imposition of another’s views of how that relationship must be. Spiritual abuse occurs when we use religion to oppress others.

Spiritual abuse can happen when a woman is told that she may choose to either wear the hijab or displease Allah. Spiritual abuse occurs when a non-fasting individual is told they are weak. Spiritual abuse occurs when a Muslim with a mental illness is told their iman (faith) is weak. Spiritual abuse occurs when a wife is told that if she refuses to have sex with her husband she is angering God. Spiritual abuse occurs when children are told that if they misbehave God will punish them. Spiritual abuse occurs when a person who has chosen to become Muslim is, implicitly or explicitly, told they are not “real Muslims.” Spiritual abuse occurs when we are told to truly fear God. And by fear I don’t mean ‘respect’ or ‘obey.’ I mean be afraid, be very afraid of God.

So, can we have an honest discussion on spiritual abuse and how pervasive it truly is in our communities? Can we talk about the daily forms of spiritual abuse that occur? Can we talk about the daily forms of spiritual abuse which have become so normalized that when more extreme forms of spiritual abuse occur our first inclination as a community is to deny they’re even happening, or to blame the victim (because, in case you didn’t notice, NAK has been spiritually abusing women for a long time)?

These questions may seem simple, but we need answers to them. We have too many victims/survivors of spiritual abuse in our communities.

Zipped Lip

Oct. 16th, 2017 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Some of the things I haven't said on my travels this year:

To the woman working for housekeeping at a hotel:

Stepping back into the room, to give me space, when I'm pushing by the cart in the hallways isn't helping.

To the guy who looked terrified at the gate when I pulled up:

I don't want to sit by you either buddy.

To the woman working at the doughnut shop in the airport:

Yeah, really, a fat guy just ordered a tea. It's what I want not a miraculous act of restraint.

To the airport wheelchair assistance person:

Really, I know what I can and can't do, if I say I can push myself, I can. I know my body better than you do.

To the hotel valet parking guy:

I don't care that I pissed you off when I asked you to leave while I got out of the car. If you want a show, buy a freaking ticket.

To the woman who asked my about my diagnosis:

It's rude and none of your business. No I don't care if you really want to know.

To the man whose teenager made a pig face at me that you didn't correct:

Great parenting shows itself, you've raised a mean child, you may not get it now, but you will.

To the mom balancing two kids in either arm:

It doesn't lessen you for me to let you go first, I'm in a chair, you could drop precious cargo.

To the clerk who kept trying to get me to wave back as I rolled by:

We don't know each other, okay? You aren't Jerry Lewis and I'm not your kid.

To the people who just walked on and went about their day whilst in the presence of disability:

Bless you. Bless you. Bless you.

Cleveland Visit

Oct. 15th, 2017 05:35 pm
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed
I'm visiting Cleveland, Ohio this coming weekend, in case you live there or have suggestions for things I ought to do.

(One proximate cause of this is that, through the Python community, I've met multiple nice people who are organizing or championing PyCon North America in Cleveland in 2018 and 2019, and who will show me around a bit. Another is the United Airlines rep who, while trying to reroute us on our solar eclipse trip, said, "The only place in the United States I can get you tonight is Cleveland" which sounds more like a Call to Adventure than most bad travel news does.)

I'm particularly interested in hiking, walking tours, live folk and rock music, history (especially political, social, and science and engineering history), pair programming, and trains. I'll be there Friday October 20th through Sunday October 22nd. I'm also open to giving a talk or two while in Cleveland. Feel free to leave comments on this post -- the spam filter is rather aggressive but I'll fish things out regularly!

Seward’s second folly

Oct. 15th, 2017 06:37 pm
[syndicated profile] chinookjargon_feed

Posted by chinookjargon

…trying to use Chinook Jargon in Alaska in July of 1902!


Alaska purchase

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

Reminiscences of a War-Time Statesman and Diplomat” is a family memoir by Frederick William Seward (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1916). Read it for free at the link.

Frederick was the son of William H. Seward, Abe Lincoln’s Secretary of State who oversaw the purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire. This book is his elaboration on what his dad wrote down about his influential life.

Buying Alaska seemed such a dumb idea at the time that this was popularly labeled “Seward’s Folly”. In present company, though, I think we can give W.H. some praise for trying to use Chinuk Wawa with the locals when his family visited southeast Alaska for fun in 1869; there are several mentions of the “Great Tyee” (president) of the “Boston Men” (Americans) in this book’s account of his meetings with Tlingit leaders (pages 369ff).

His son F.W. returned 33 years later. It’s admirable that he tried to emulate his dad’s linguistic gesture, but it turns out to be Folly Part 2:

We could spend hours in this
Museum, if we had them, but our time is limited in Sitka

On our way back, we come across the school children,
of whom there seem to be several hundred. They are
neatly dressed, and for the most part with air and com-
plexion like other school children in the northern States,
though occasionally the darker hue of some of them de-
notes their Esquimau or Indian parentage.

We stopped to converse with some of them, and to recall
some of the phrases of the Chinook jargon, which we took
some pains to learn several years ago, as it was then the
only mode of communication in vogue in the Territory.
The youngsters look at us with open eyes and shake their
heads. One of the missionary teachers laughingly says:
”They know good English, and do not know the Chinook
jargon, — some have not heard of it, and those who have,
consider it ‘low down talk.’ “ (pages 458-459)

Ugh! You try to show some class, and everyone thinks you’re lowdown. Can’t win ’em all…

The useful information for me in the above quotation is that the Jargon had already faded from use in Sitka by 1902. Keep in mind that Sitka was still the capital city until 1906, so it was the hub of U.S. influence. Not just government but missionary efforts were centered here, the latter under the leadership of Sheldon Jackson, known for “his efforts to suppress Native American languages“–and Whites typically saw the pidgin Chinook Jargon as an Indian language.

The Jargon hung on longer outside the limited sphere of Sitka’s direct influence. Because southeast Alaska remained less a settler society and more a frontier resource-extraction economy where newly arrived Whites experienced an urgent need to communicate with Native people who they shared no other language with, we find the pidgin in use throughout southeast Alaska into the 20th century. Typically Yakutat was named as the farthest northern limit of both Tlingit territory and CJ use, and of course the latter extended seamlessly southward down the British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon coasts.

Gilbert Said

(Image credit:

If you’re looking for an excellent firsthand telling of life on the lingering SE AK frontier, you’re going to be happy with the book “Gilbert Said“. Gil McLeod was a character and pretty fine speaker of Jargon, and some Haida, who passed on about 25 years ago; we’re lucky to have his colorful words in print.

Cleveland Visit

Oct. 15th, 2017 05:35 pm
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed
I'm visiting Cleveland, Ohio this coming weekend, in case you live there or have suggestions for things I ought to do.

(One proximate cause of this is that, through the Python community, I've met multiple nice people who are organizing or championing PyCon North America in Cleveland in 2018 and 2019, and who will show me around a bit. Another is

Two Queens and and King

Oct. 15th, 2017 06:40 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

I written about this before.

It really worries me.

We'd just got off a plane and were heading towards the luggage area. A man was coming towards us, about our age, he was walking quickly to get to the gate for the departing flight. I said to Joe, after I spotted the accessible washroom, "Hey would you mind checking to see if the door is locked?" Before Joe could move, this man, who had overheard my question, had assumed I was asking him. Annoyance crossed his face at having been asked to do this but he started to go to the door!

I called out, "I wasn't asking you!"

By then Joe was on an intercept course and the guy, looking relieved, said, "I thought you were alone and were asking me."

All I said was, "I'm not alone."

I could have added "And  even if I was, I can get in on my own, there is a door opener for easy entry."

This happens all the time.

I'm writing about this one because, really? I'm going to ask a stranger for help with going to the washroom? He saw Joe and I together ... no, I've said that wrong ... even though he saw Joe and I together he assumed that I was alone.

The natural state of disabled people is alone, friendless, unloved and unsupported. Isolated people who live isolated lives waiting for friend death to claim us.

Yes, there are people with disabilities who live very isolated lives and that isolation relates to their disability. I know that, I know that it's an issue of social stigma and prejudice and barriers to full inclusion. I know it's because people with disabilities may need to socialize in different ways with different needs. I know and have worked on this issue for most of my years as a professional in the disability sector. I know.

But loneliness is not the natural state of any human being.

It may be chosen, but for the most part we are social beings.

That I can't be seen in relationship to another person when I'm out is astonishing. That same day, when the man thought that I had asked for his help ... we checked into the hotel. I always mark, when I reserve a room, that there will be two people in the room, but the clerk, like most do, prepared only one key for the room and had to be asked for a second key. "Let me see if I can change your room to two queens."

I was tired, and still pissed off from the guy and the washroom. I responded, "We ARE two queens and we really want a king."
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Posted by Fred Clark

"Essentially what the dollar stores are betting on in a large way is that we are going to have a permanent underclass in America. It’s based on the concept that the jobs went away, and the jobs are never coming back."

Koho stick

Oct. 14th, 2017 07:33 pm
[syndicated profile] chinookjargon_feed

Posted by chinookjargon

Until my dictionaries (plural) of Chinuk Wawa are published, I want every last one of you to buy the Grand Ronde Tribes’ dictionary. At $29.95 it’s a very good deal, giving you the most accurate pronunciation and usage guidance available. And you’ll be supporting the tribe that is pretty singlehandedly bringing the Jargon back to brilliant life.

(My dictionaries will not duplicate their efforts, only add to them with piles of info from other sources.)

Shinny by Lacoista from Smithsonian


(Image credit: Smithsonian)

The Grand Ronde dictionary has a word qʰóhoho that I imagine many folks will be briefly mystified by. Because the translation that’s given is ‘shinny’. Hardly anyone uses that English word in that way anymore. It refers to (as the dictionary goes on to tell you) “an indigenous form of field hockey”. Now you’ve learned something.

You’re also learning this Jargon word for the first time, aren’t you? It’s not widely known. Checking my priceless copy of Samuel V. Johnson’s 1978 dissertation*, I find no trace of a similar word from the many early dictionaries that he compiles.

The origin of this word is rightly called “obscure” in the Grand Ronde dictionary. Maybe the Indigenous etymology will come to light with further research. For now, I can add a couple of clues to the dossier.

Royal A. Bensell’s entertaining diary “All Quiet on the Yamhill: The Civil War in Oregon” (ed. by Gunther Barth, pub. by U. of Oregon Press, 1959), which is larded with quite a lot of Chinuk Wawa, mentions this:

Feb. 14, 1864. Clear. Sunday, and from the top of the Block House I watched the Indian game “Coho” played by a large number of “Siwashes.” Very interesting. (page 123)

And then there’s Andrew McFarland Davis’s 1886 article “A Few Additional Notes Concerning Indian Games” in the Bulletin of the Essex Institute (volume 18 nos. 10-12, pages 168-188). I’m going to quote this at some length:


My former paper was separately printed and a few copies
were distributed among persons who were presumed to be
interested in the subject. Mr. F. P. Deering, of San Fran-
cisco, in his acknowledgment of the receipt of a copy which
I sent him, communicated the following interesting infor-
mation : —


” I have delayed acknowledging your kindness in send-
ing a copy [of Indian Games] to me, to get some facts
about the Oregon game of Koho played by the Indians of
that section. Mr. Simpson, a friend of mine, — a lawyer
here, — passed much of his youth on an Indian reservation
in Oregon, of which his father was the head. He tells
me that the favorite game with the various tribes stationed
there, was one which was played sometimes by members
of the same tribe, and at others by different tribes, and
called as if spelled k-o-h-o. A wooden ball whittled out of
the knot of some tree, maple I think, was placed in the
ground midway between the goals which were usually
three-quarters of a mile apart. A hole about as large as
a man’s hat was dug in the earth and lightly filled with
dust and leaves. In this the ball was placed. The chiefs,
each with one koho stick, about as long as a walking-cane,
widened to two or three inches perhaps, at the end, and
bent upward, stood on either side of the hole ; and, at a
given signal, struggled to get possession of the ball with
their sticks. The men on either side were at liberty to
take what stations they pleased anywhere in the field. The
goals were not like those in lacrosse, but were arbitrary
lines, the length of the whole end of the field, and across
one of these lines the ball had to be driven. The game,
as it was described to me, was extremely rough ; tripping,
pushing and catching men by the legs with the koho stick
being permitted. Striking one another with the stick was
even resorted to, although the last was supposed to be for-
bidden. The players were often severely hurt, but my
informant knew of no case where any one was killed, or
where bones were broken. He tells me of different in-
stances where the heat of the game led to fights among
individual players and says that on one occasion when the
game was between different tribes, and the losing party be-


gan to attack the winners with their kohoes [Footnote 1] the spectators,
sympathizing with the winners, fired rifles at the losers.

Gambling was one of the features of the contest, just
as with the games you describe, and the participants and
lookers-on often wagered every stitch of clothing they had
on. So far as costume for the game is concerned, I could
not learn that any special preparation was made.”

In the description of lacrosse as played on the Pacific
coast, which was quoted in the former article, the bat was
described as ” constructed of a long, slender stick, bent
double and bound together, leaving a circular hoop at the
extremity, across which is woven a coarse meshwork of
strings.” In the game of koho, it will be noticed that
this form of bat is changed, and the consequent modifica-
tions of the game, from inability to strike sharply with
the cross, do not appear. We have a game which closely
approximates lacrosse as described in early times in the
east. The koho stick resembles the “curved wooden
head” of which Morgan gives an account, but which, so
far as my observations go, is mentioned by no other
writer. The method of opening the game seems to be


1 The mention of this word in the English plural naturally brings to mind the
fact that the town of Cohoes in New York bears an Indian name, apparently pro-
nounced like the name given the bats in the Oregon game. Morgan, in his “League
of the Iroquois,” p. 474, gives the Mohawk name for Cohoes as Ga-ha-oose, and de-
fines its meaning to be ”shipwrecked canoe.” In ”A General History of Connecti-
cut,” etc., by a gentleman of the province, London, 1781, reprinted with supplement,
New Haven, 1829, the author (said to be Rev. Samuel Peters) says, p. 110, ‘”In the
Connecticut river there are three great bendings, called Cohosses, about 100 miles
asunder.” This is evidently the same word applied through its descriptive force,
to places dangerous for navigation on each of the rivers. A coincidence of the
use of the same word in dialects used by tribes so widely separated as those liv-
ing in the valleys of the Mohawk and Connecticut, and those living in the valley of
the Columbia, is not impossible but is not probable.

In a dictionary of the Niskwalli, by George Gibbs, Contributions to North Amer-
ican Ethnology, Vol. I, p. 292, “ka-hos, ka-ho sin, a club,” is given. Dr. Trumbull,
whom I consulted, called my attention to the word “ko-ko, to knock,” given in
Gibbs’ dictionary of Chinook Jargon. See Dr. Shea’s Library of American Lin-
guistics, No. XII.


entirely original. It had this advantage over the ordinary-
plan of starting through the agency of an umpire or some
disinterested party, that no favors could be shown. By
means of this description — if doubts existed before — we
are enabled to identify, beyond cavil, the game of lacrosse
as one of the amusements indulged in by our Pacific coast
Indians. (pages 168-171)

I wonder if koho stick was an expression in the Jargon? New to me.

I tend to agree with Davis that an Eastern Native source seems unlikely.

And the suggestion of Chinook Jargon ko-ko as the source of Chinook Jargon qʰóhoho doesn’t hold water. George Gibbs (1863) has koko ‘to knock’, saying it’s onomatopoeic — apparently the way Chinook Indians imitated woodpeckers. If that word sounded much like koho, he would have written it with an “h”. I don’t find it in Lower Chinookan, but there are mighty similar words in southwest Washington Salish for ‘woodpecker’, like qaqə́m in Lower Chehalis, Upper Chehalis and Cowlitz.

But the third potential source, Salish, is an okay prospect. Recall the Nisqually ( = southern Lushootseed Salish) “ka-hos, ka-ho sin, a club” that was mentioned. That’s a pretty old appearance of the root that we know in modern Lushootseed as č̓axʷ(a) ‘[to] club, hit with a stick’. (Because older k̓ became modern č̓.) I haven’t found the suffixes -s (probably ‘face’) or [-]in (maybe ‘tool’) on that root in the Lush. dictionary, but the connection is quite interesting and worth a further look. A pretty good candidate for a connection in SW WA Salish is a Lower Chehalis (Willapa Bay area) word for a ‘fish club’ from the 1880s, approximately k̓awá-tən (‘?clubbing-tool’). Variation between  and w is a known thing in SW WA Salish. The only problem is that this is the only occurrence of such a root that I’ve found among those 4 languages! Not discovering any 100% bulletproof cognates of this root, I refer you to a language I know much less about: a very tentative link might exist with Tillamook Salish gʷəʔəš, gʷaʔəš ‘beat/kill’.

I promise not to be surprised if a better etymology for qʰóhoho turns up in a different Oregon language. But it sure is interesting to go looking and find that darn Salish popping up again as a likely suspect in the history of Chinuk Wawa!

*The only reason I don’t recommend SVJ’s diss for everyone to also buy is that it’s an imperfect photocopy from a 1978 computer printout, so, it’s harder to use than you’d wish. Samuel V. Johnson, is there a chance we can scan and OCR your personal “keeper” copy?

Public Space

Oct. 14th, 2017 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Before we went down to the gates where the smaller planes are docked, we were pushing over towards the elevator going down. To get there we had to stop and negotiate the chair and our carry on luggage around a group of three men, taking up a fair bit of space, talking and laughing with each other. No big deal, this happens in airports all the time. At the elevator I wondered aloud if there would be accessible toilets down in the gate area. Joe quickly volunteered to go check and I stopped, with lots of space around me, to wait for his return.

I glance up from checking my phone for email and see an airport employee striding towards me. To get to me he also had to step around the three men who had spread out even more to accommodate the large gestures they used when talking. They were animated about some sport or other and having a great chat.

So why is this airport dude headed towards me?

As he approached he put his hands out, as if grabbing the handles on the back of my chair, I suppose an indicator that this is what he was going to do. "Let me help you get out of the way," he said.

Out of the way.

I am in the way.

There is space on either side of me for a group of 10 to pass and I'm in the fucking way.

I grabbed my wheels, and said, "I'll move when you make them move," releasing one wheel so I could point at the group of three men taking up much more space than I was and in doing so requiring people to actively have to get around them. In my area, not one person even had to slow, but I was in the way.

"I don't mind helping you," he said.

"I do," I said, "and I'm not moving until you make them move. Why do they have more right to space than I do? Why am I in the way and they are not? Let me ask you are you a bigot regarding people with disabilities in public space?"

I was calm but firm.

And no fucking way was I going to move.


You know what.

I didn't.

Kah, kahkah, kahkah kah

Oct. 13th, 2017 02:27 pm
[syndicated profile] chinookjargon_feed

Posted by chinookjargon

Thus quoth the Raven: Ilo kah son wiht.



(Image credit:

Disclaimer: It’s not totally intentional that I keep writing things you can relate to Hallowe’en. But this is America, and I know people are going to hear ravens while they read today’s article…Besides, kahkah is also an old spelling of a Chinuk Wawa word meaning…guess what kind of bird…

Kah (Grand Ronde spelling qʰá(x̣)) means fundamentally ‘where’. But it’s a word with a bunch of nuances that you may not have had explained to you. At least one of these is an idiom of the Kamloops world, and because very few of us can read Chinuk pipa, I bet it’s new to you.

The pages of Kamloops Wawa #202 (September 1902) demonstrate the many uses of kah and kahkah, sometimes together, that you can put to advantage in expressing yourself.


Your basic use: ‘where?’

= Pi kah iaka mitlait?
but where he is.located
“But where is he?”

Slightly extended uses: ‘somewhere…’, and ‘when’ as a relative-clause introducer:

…mamuk ukuk midsin kanamokst tlus makmak kopa mais; mash [NULL] kah pus klaska 
…put this medicine with good food for mice; put [it] where for them
…place this medicine together with some good food for mice; put [it] somewhere for them

tlap [NULL]…
to.find [it]…
to find [IT]…

…kanawi Sondi pi kro kopa kah iaka kopit iht iiir.
…every week and arrive at where it is.finished one year
…every week until when a year is finished.

Advanced Kamloops Chinuk Wawa:

Ilihi ayu shik, ayu klatwa kopa tanas ayu kah ilihi.
earth much shake, much go in little many where place
The earth was shaking [and] moving in several locales (‘where places’).

…kah son iaka tiki nsaika mimlus, nsaika mimlus, wik kata pus ilo…
…where day he want us to.die, we die, no how for not…
whichever day he wants us to die, we die, no avoiding it…



Doubling kah is a formation that goes way back to fairly early days on the lower Columbia River, I infer from its occurrence in both Grand Ronde and Kamloops. Like other whole-word reduplications in the Jargon, it gives a distributive sense. Easier to give examples than blab on:

Wiht pus msaika tlap mĭnt, ukuk tlus hom tipso iaka nim mĭnt, pi msaika mamuk mitlait [NULL]
also if you.folks get mint, that good smell plant its name mint, and you.folks make be.located [it]
Also if you folks get some mint, the nice-smelling plant called mint, and you put [it] here and there

kah kah kopa msaika haws…
where where in you.folks’ houses…
in your houses…

Mosis nanich kahkah, pi ilo klaksta mitlait…
Moses looked wherewhere, but not anybody was.there…
Moses looked all around, but nobody was there…


Ace level: use kah together with kahkah! Style points for also using iht iht 🙂 (Literally ‘one one’.)

Wiht pus mamuk kopit rats kopa msaika haws: iskom iht iht korks, ukuk korks mamuk ihpui botls;
also to make stop rats in you.folks’ houses: take one one corks, those corks make shut bottles;
Also to put a stop to rats in you folks’ houses: take several corks, the corks that stop up bottles;

mamuk kyut klaska drit kakwa pipa pi mamuk kuk [NULL] kanamokst ayu gris, pi mash [NULL]
make cut them just like paper and make cook [them] with much grease, and put [them] 
cut them [to be] just like paper and cook [them] with a lot of grease, then put [them]

kahkah kah ukuk rats klaska kuli.
all.around where those rats they run.
all around where the rats run.

Now you know!

LBCF, No. 155: ‘Super powers’

Oct. 13th, 2017 11:46 am
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Nicolae’s super powers seem different from the book’s other supernatural events. It's one thing to make God a character, portraying God with divine powers. It's something else to suddenly tell us that the president of Romania can also work divine miracles.

Friday Features

Oct. 13th, 2017 10:33 am
[syndicated profile] muslimahmedia_feed

Posted by eren

Things to Know About!

Iran’s grappling medalists after attending the 2015 Grappling World Championships- Via Team USA.

Must See!

One of Saffaa’s pieces- via

The Wall of Shame…

Aisha Ahmad- Via The Guardian.

Great Pieces by Muslim Women

Thunder Bay And My Chair

Oct. 13th, 2017 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

So, here's what happened. I rolled into the office and as I pulled into the elevator I both heard and felt whatever holds my front right wheel nearly disintegrate. Rolling to my office felt a bit like hobbling like I did in my youth when I severely sprained my ankle. I was panic-struck. I have a lot of travel coming up, including a flight two days hence. I had someone take a look at it at the office and he thought he could fix it the following morning. As hard as he tried, he was unsuccessful but said that the wheel would definitely stay on but it would be wobbly.

I did a Google search in Thunder Bay and found a wheelchair repair place, a branch of the one I usually use, Motion Specialties. I called them and described my problem to a really nice woman named Terry and when I told her what time we were to land the next day, she told me to come on over and they'd take a look at it.

That's what we did.

I stayed in the car and Joe took in the chair. They'd need, I thought, to turn it over to look at the wheel and that would be hard to do with me in the chair. I suggested to Joe that I could call from the car to talk to the repair person or, if it was easier, they could come out to me. Dan, the repair guy, chose to come out to speak with me. It's a bit hard to describe, even here, what my exact concerns were, given that the chair isn't made any more and certain difficulties I have with the chairs that are currently on the market and why I needed things done in a particular way and how I wanted him to be making decisions as he moved forward.

He listened, to understand, not to question.

That is incredibly difficult to find in a person generally. It's even more difficult when bridging the disabled/non disabled communication gap into which experience battles it out with expertise. When he left I felt he had truly understood my concerns. Even if he couldn't fix it, the exchange had been worth my time.

A few minutes later he was back with an update and wanted direction. I knew what I wanted him to do, but it would be time consuming and there was an easier, although more temporary fix. He'd been so decent that I felt that I owed him an honest answer. So, I asked him if would be possible to do something, let me try it and if it doesn't work to undo it and do something different. He got it, understood why I made that decision, given the fact that he'd listened in the first place, and set off for trial number one.

I turns out that the more permanent fix worked and we didn't need to do more.

I'm not done yet.

When paying I asked them about purchasing something that would make my brakes really grab the wheel. They had become slack and the tires are worn down. Terry went and got Dan and he looked at it and said, I don't think you need to by anything, there's give here I'll grab my tools and fix it. So there in the office the breaks were made like brand new, no extra charge.

Joe and I hesitated to call this miraculous but to find a place far from home that can fit you in during the time you have, and have the parts, and the ability to fix it while you wait in the car. It took less than an hour for this all to happen.

This is my formal shout out to Dan and Terry at Motion Specialties in Thunder Bay.

Thank you both for listening, taking my concerns seriously, and helping me out with both kindness and welcome. I appreciate it way more than you can know.


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