AboutTo Home Page

I heard a few words of the Chinook Jargon on rare occasion as a child in Oregon in the 1960s, and occasionally as a young adult in Seattle in the mid-1980s. A decade ago I became intrigued with the lingo that was the source of these words peculiar to the Pacific Northwest, and created this hobby Web site about it. I soon made friends with several others who shared my interest, some as a hobby, others as a scholarly pursuit.

Over the years this site has grown, and then been weeded back, as a multitude of superior references have become available elsewhere on the Web.

Please note my interest is in Northwest history generally, and I am not an expert on the Chinook Jargon nor on American Indians.

Thank you for visiting.

Jeffrey Kopp

Revision History


June 2014Cleaned up the site, removed dead links.
February 2010Worldnet closes down, so I lose my Web address. Jim Holton graciously agrees to host the site on his server.
July 2009Site cleanup: Updated links on dictionaries page, deleted previous "links page" and Swanton's Indian Tribes of North America.
October 2007"Mystery dictionary" identified!
June 2007Minor changes to front page.
June-July 2005Map section restored, revised and expanded. Added links to The Northern Plains Archive Project, containing a full version of Swanton's Indian Tribes of North America, census data at the U.S. Census and University of Virginia Library, and Our Roots: Canada's Local Histories Online. Updated links to pages which have moved.
March 2004Restructured and simplified site to just presentation of source materials for study or research, plus the links.
February 2004Technical cleanup: Formatting (width and fonts) of HTML dictionaries (Gibbs, Shaw, Phillips) improved and validated, continuing work previously done on other pages.
August 2003Restored dynamic HTML formatting for images of LeJeune's 1924 "Chinook Rudiments."
July 2003Divided the Washington and Oregon excerpts of Swanton's "Tribes of North America" into separate sections, with a alphabetic navigation bars. (Still needs to be proofread.)

I discovered the California section is on-line, presented by the Native American Documents Project of Cal State, San Marcos.

LeJeune's 1924 "Chinook Rudiments" (presented as image scans) enlarged for greater legibility on today's bigger displays. Some portions toward the back where the writing is smaller remains illegible; hope to rescan the original when time permits.

May 2003Site moved to att.net (AT&T Worldnet) from attbi.com (AT&T Broadband) when the host changed hands and the URL would have changed anyway.

(This is the third home for the site; it was begun on Geocities and moved to attbi in 2/02.)

March 2003Updated link to Native Culture section of Lewis & Clark Rediscovery Project.
October  2002Added links to Chinook Tribe's new official Web site and a page of the University of Idaho's "Lewis & Clark Rediscovery Project" featuring the tribes of the lower Columbia.
July  2002Washington and Oregon excerpts of "The Indian Tribes of North America," by John R. Swanton, Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 145, 1952. This used to exist elsewhere as a plain text file (obviously OCR'd), which I had linked to; it moved and then disappeared from the Web. Now presented in HTML, restoring the appearance and formatting of the book (as best as can be duplicated in vanilla HTML), as well adding a portion missing from the previous version, and cross-references within the text are hyperlinked. Non-ASCII characters in original approximated; needs proofing.
Feb.-Mar. 2002Had to straighten out some internal linking and page-loading problems resulting from dividing and moving the site from Geocities to ATTbi which caused "access forbidden" errors to be returned in some situations.
Jan-Feb 2002Moved site from Geocities to home.attbi.com. "Tenas Wawa" section separated into site of its own. Fixed glitches in LeJeune dictionary navigation. Moving the site also permitted sectioning Phillips' and Shaw's main vocabularies for quicker loading (some server-imposed counter scripting by Geocities had frustrated the alphabet-button navigation scheme devised for those segments).
November 2001Routine maintenance, many dead links discovered and removed or corrected. External links on all pages should now open in new browser windows. Hit counter up again in October; these blips are definitely grade-school homework assignments.
September 2001Fixed some HTML formatting errors (principally in Shaw's Combined Vocabulary) which became apparent only on Web TV.
August 2001The Chinook Book by W.S. Philips ("El Comancho"), an unusual Jargon dictionary, a photocopy of which was donated three years previously, has been prepared in HTML, thanks to an improved OCR program recently obtained with a new scanner, and is now included in the On-Line Dictionaries section.
July 2001In Fall 1999 added page images of ten dictionaries adapted from scanned microfilm images available at Early Canadiana Online. Since then their user interface has improved considerably and it became possible to link directly into specific works on their site, so I now offer links to the dictionaries there rather than duplicate the images here.
Spring 2001After a surge in visits in October (nearly 1,000 hits), the count fell off sharply in December and I discovered the original URL no longer worked due to a server protocol change at Geocities. (The tilde was originally necessary, then optional, then--without announcement--defunct.) By March I had backtracked the links to my site and notified their webmasters of this change, and gotten the search engines who paid attention to submissions to update their entries.

Maintenance updates of meeting times, broken outbound links, etc. New links to another dictionary (T.N. Hibben) and paper (Jacobs).

September 2000Hit counter rolls over 10K. Now 200 visits weekly.
June-July 2000Page of outbound links to related sites. Maintenance update, minor additions and corrections.
September-
October 1999
Le Jeune's Chinook Rudiments added and Shaw's dictionary completed (now shown in its entirety). New links to ten other Jargon dictionaries and two 19th-century journal articles.
August 1, 1999George Gibbs' Dictionary of the Chinook Jargon added to the site, in its entirety (in HTML).
July 28, 1999Shaw's Vocabulary expanded (now includes "supplemental vocabulary") and set into frames for easier browsing
April 14, 1998Seattle's Lost Language: Chapter of late Northwest author Nard Jones' book, "Seattle," by grant of temporary permission of the publisher.
March 18, 1998Upgraded site to "Geocities Plus" to eliminate pop-up ads they added about then to their free pages.
January 1998Donation of a used color monitor enabled addition of color images to the site. Still using a secondhand grayscale scanner at this point.
January 1998"What's New" page (now this Revision History)
November 1997Listed in Yahoo!
Fall 1997Three Tenas Wawa articles added by permission of author; subsequently moved to their own site as it developed further.
October 1997A bibliography page was begun based on a search of the Multnomah County Library's online card catalog, back when the only way in was via Telnet or local dial-up. Since removed as a Web interface is now available.

Links to other bibliography resources were later added; now see section on Jargon online resources page.

June 27, 1997Site begun on Geocities with an anecdotal personal "Introduction" and Shaw's Vocabulary.


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HTML rev. 6/2/14. Copyright © 1997-2014 by Jeffrey Kopp. Please cite linked works directly.