TENAS WAWA--The Chinook Jargon Voice
"Sawmill John"

Episode 11

The light drizzle of that Sunday turned in to a torrential downpour. John and Jim ran up to Jim's house to get out of the rain. Molly boiled coffee while the two men shed their wet coats and hung them behind the stove. They pulled up a couple of chairs and sat close to the heat.

It being Sunday, there was no work at the mill, and with the weather outside, the house was full of family members recuperating in the wake of the potlatch. Jim's mother was teaching the girls to make a small burden basket. Two of Molly's brothers were playing some kind of quiet game with the boys. Jim's dad was sleeping, and Charlie was sitting with his accordion on his lap quietly fingering some nondescript melody.
Jim was curious why John had left New Hampshire three years ago, and what he had been doing during the two years before his arrival in Seattle. He asked the question and John complied to the best of his ability, within the restrictions of Chinook Jargon, to give Jim somewhat of an autobiography.
John and Pete had grown up in the timber business in the East. John, the older of the two, had spent a lot of time timber-cruising with his father and had picked up some surveying skills. The days of the big timber were over in New Hampshire by the time the boys reached adulthood, and their father decided to close down the mill and liquidate their logging interests.
The boys helped their father put together a retail hardware business, although their hearts weren't really in it.
With Barbara's temporary rejection of John's marriage proposal, John's spirits were down, and he would welcome anything that offered adventure.
One day a friend of the family, actually a shirt-tail relative, stopped by their home for a visit. His name was George McClellan.
It was in the Spring of 1853. Isaac Stevens had been appointed governor of the new Territory of Washington. He had also been assigned to survey a possible northern railway route to Puget Sound. Stevens would himself lead a party embarking from St. Louis and head north to Minnesota, and from there west across the Plans and Rocky Mountains to Fort Colville, where he would rendezvous with McClellan, who would seek out a route from Puget Sound across the Cascade Range. This was considered to be the most difficult leg of the project. Needless to say, John's interest was piqued.
The next day, McClellan had a traveling companion to Washington, D.C., where they boarded a steamer bound for Panama. Two months later they were in Vancouver, Washington. The journey from Vancouver to Olympia in those times averaged about seven days, and involved poling a canoe up the Cowlitz River and going overland by horseback.
One hundred and sixty horses and mules and sixty men were outfitted by McClellan, who departed for the Cascade Mountains. John was enlisted with Rufus Saxton and a party of men to take a huge pack train of horses and supplies up the Columbia and eventually rendezvous with Stevens in the Bitterroot Valley in the fall. It was an arduous journey for John, who was not accustomed to horseback. After a stop at Fort Walla Walla, the party was attacked by a small band of Cayuse Indians from Oregon. John received a musket ball in the leg, which broke his thigh bone below the hip. He was clubbed from his horse and left for dead. Saxton and the rest escaped the skirmish with a few minor injuries and the loss of a couple of pack horses.

Jim: "Anah! Klahowyum maika!" "Oh, my! Poor you!"
John: "Nawitka. Naika teawhit, yaka kokshut. Naika kowkwutl mitwhit." "Indeed. Me leg, him break. Me unable stand."
Jim: "Kunsih laly maika mitlite yahwa?" "How much time you be there?"
John: "Naika mitlite yahwa tenas laly. Winnapie okoke Cayuse siwash chako kilapai. Naika kwass. Naika mamook ikpooie naika eye. Ikt man chukkin naika kopa yakwatin, keschi naika halo wawa pe halo hahlakl eye. Yaka tum-tum naika memaloose. Okoke Cayuse kapswalla naika kiutan, musket pe konaway naika iktas. Kimta, klaska klatawa. Naika mitlite yahwa konaway okoke sun pe konaway okoke polaklie. Naika halo mitlite chuck pe mukamuk. Naika kowkwutl moosum. Chee sun chako pe naika elip chako sick. Naika sit pe hullel. Naika chako pelton kopa la tate. Konaway iktas chako klale pe naika kowkwutl nanitch. Naika whim kopa illahee pe moosum kahkwa naika memaloose. Naika mitlite yahwa klonas ikt, mokst, klone, klonas lakkit sun, naika halo kumtux. Kunsih naika eye hahlakl, naika kumtux naika keekwullie teepee." "Me be there little time. Soon them Cayuse Indian return. Me afraid. Me make close me eye. One man kick me in stomach, but me not talk and not open eye. Him believe me dead. That Cayuse steal me horse, musket and all me thing. After, them go. Me be there all that day and all that night. Me not have water and food. Me unable sleep. New day come and me become sick. Me sit and shake. Me become crazy in head. Everything become black and me unable see. Me fall on ground and sleep same like me dead. Me be there maybe one, two, three, maybe four day, me not know. When me eye open, me know me in teepee."
Jim: "Naika halo kumtux teepee." "Me not know teepee."
John: "Siwash tillikum enatai la monti mitlite kopa kliskwis pe skin house kahkwa okoke!" "Indian people across mountain live in mat or skin house like this!"
Jim formed a teepee with his hands.
John: "Okoke siwash tillikum yahul 'Nimipu.' Boston tillikum wawa klaska Nez Perce." "Them Indian people called "Nimipu.' America people talk them Nez Perce."
Jim: "'Nes pus'? Yaka Boston la lang?" "'Nes Pus'? That America language?"
John: "Wake. Nez Perce, yaka pahsiooks la lang." "No. Nez Perce, that French language."
Jim: "Ikta Nes Pus kopa Chinook wawa?" "What 'Nes Pus' in Chinook talk?"
John: "Hmmm . . . . yaka kahkwa . . . . mamook klawhap kopa emeets pe mamook bone yahwa. . . . ." "Hmmm . . . . that same like . . . . make hole in nose and do bone there. . . . ."
John chuckled at his attempt to describe the definition of the word. Jim chuckled with him.
Jim: "Okoke delate?" "That true?"
John: "Wake. . . . . Naika mitlite kunamokst okoke tillikum tahtlum pe mokst moon pe naika halo kumtux kopa eye bone kopa klaska emeets." "No. . . . . Me live with that people twelve month and me not see bone in them nose."
Molly: "John, maika mitlite yahwa youtlkut laly. Maika klonas tikegh okoke tillikum!" "John, you live there long time. You maybe like that people!"
John: "Delate, Molly, klaska kloshe tillikum. Klaska mamook naika teawhit kahkwa chee. Naika mitlite hiyu sihks yahwa. Naika iskum kumtux wawa Chinook yahwa pe iskum kumtux wawa 'Nimipu Hi'n,' Nez Perce la lang yahwa." "True, Molly, them good people. Them make me leg same like new. Me have many friend there. Me learn talk Chinook there and learn talk 'Nimipu Hi'n,' Nez Perce language there."
Jim: "Okoke Nes Pus tillikum, klaska halo mamook house pe canim kahkwa nesaika?" "That Nez Perce people, them not make house and canoe like us?"
John: "Wake. Klaska halo mitlite hyas stick pe salt chuck. Tillikum yahwa klatawa konaway ka kopa kiutan. Klaska mitlite hiyu kiutan. Klaska kiutan klonas elip kloshe kiutan kopa konaway illahee. Klaska coolie hyak pe klaska toketie. Nez Perce tillikum mitlite wake siah stalo. Kopa waum illahee, klaska kiutan mukamuk hiyu illahee tupsoo pe chako skookum. Kimtah, konaway tillikum klatawa enatai hyas la monti kopa tupsoo illahee ka sun chako. Klaska coolie kopa klaska kiutan pe pooh hiyu moos-moos. Klaska iskum hiyu moos-moos itlwillie pe skin. Kimtah, klaska chako kilapai. Moos-moos skin, yaka hyas pe waum. Yaka kloshe peshimon. Spose klootzman iskum klak moos-moos tupsoo, skin kloshe kopa teepee house pe la sak pe moccasin. Moos-moos itlwillie, yaka delate kloshe. "No. Them not have big tree and ocean. People there go everywhere on horse. Them have many horse. Them horse maybe best horse in world. Them run fast and them pretty. Nez Perce people live near river. In summer, them horse eat much grass and become strong. After, everybody go across big mountain to grassland where sun come. Them run on them horse and shoot many buffalo. Them get much buffalo meat and skin. After, them return. Buffalo skin, it big and warm. It good bed robe. If woman take off buffalo hair, skin good for teepee house and bag and moccasin. Buffalo meat, it very good.
"Nez Perce tillikum, klaska mamook mowitch skin shut, skut, sakoleks pe shoe. Klaska mamook tupshin hiyu tenas kamosuk kopa konaway klaska iktas. Delate toketie!" "Nez Perce people, them make deer skin shirt, dress, leggings and shoes. Them sew many small bead on all them things. Very pretty!"
Molly: "Okoke Nez Pus klootzman toketie, weght?" "Them Nez Perce woman pretty, also?"
John: "Ahah . . . . hiyu klootzman toketie yahwa." "Yes . . . . many woman pretty there."
John answered the question unaware of the teasing expression developing on her face. Everyone in the house had been listening to John's account and all eyes were on him and Molly now, realizing what she was setting him up for:
Molly: "Klonas John mitlite yahwa youtlkut laly kehwa yaka kiawali konaway okoke toketie Nes Pus klootzman!" "Maybe John live there long time because him love all them pretty Nez Perce woman!"
Everyone laughed and John blushed.
John: "Wake, wake!" "No, no!"
Molly was teasing as she affected an expression and tone of disbelief.
Molly: "Halo ikt?" "Not one?"
John: "Well . . . . klonas naika kiawali ikt klootzman yahwa, keschi kopet tenas laly." "Well . . . . maybe me love one woman there, but just little time."
Jim: "Ikta yaka nem, John?" "What her name, John?"
John: "Yaka nem 'Koots Peo Peo.' Yaka kahkwa 'Tenas Kalakala.' Kunsih naika teawhit elip chako kloshe, naika tikegh klatawa klahanie teepee house. Konaway sun naika klatawa kopa le pee wake siah kopa wayhut. Ikt sun naika kumtux kopa eye delate toketie klootzman kopa kiutan. Okoke klootzman delate toketie, nawitka. Yaka yakso klale pe youtlkut. Yaka eye hyas pe yaka emeets pewattie pe sopah. Yaka kapala pil pe yaka la push tenas. Yaka mitlite pil tzum sail skut pe tkope mowitch skin skut pe moccasin. Yaka mitlite hiyu kamosuk. Naika wawa 'Klahowya.' Yaka halo wawa. "Her name 'Koots Peo Peo.' That same like 'Little Bird.' When me leg begin become good, me like go outside teepee house. Every day me go not far on road. One day me see very pretty woman on horse. That woman very pretty, indeed. Her hair black and long. Her eye big and her nose thin and straight. Her cheek red and her mouth small. She have red calico shirt and white deer skin dress and moccasin. She have many beads. Me talk, 'Hello.' She not talk.
"Konaway sun naika nanitch okoke toketie klootzman pe wawa 'klahowya' pe yaka halo wawa. "Every day me see this pretty woman and talk 'hello' and she not talk.
"Ikt sun naika wawa, 'Naika tikegh mahlie maika!' Alta okoke klootzman wawa. Yaka wawa, 'Naika tum-tum maika klonas kloshe man, keschi naika chako mahlie ahnkuttie. Naika mitlite kunamokst naika man kopa teepee wake siah.' Okoke klootzman hee-hee pe klatawa." "One day me talk, 'Me want marry you!' Now this woman talk. She talk, 'Me think you maybe good man, but me become marry past. Me live with me man in teepee nearby.' That woman laugh and go."
There was a unanimous sigh of pity throughout the household. John looked forlorn as he finished his account of the episode and Molly became genuinely concerned.
Molly: "Anah, klahowyum John." "Oh my, poor John."
John couldn't contain himself. He burst into laughter.
John: "Hee-hee, naika klaminawit!" "Hee-hee, me lie!"
Everyone laughed. It was a good prank, after Molly's teasing.

Chikamin Charlie began playing the tune from "Sweet Betsy from Pike." After half a dozen lines, he played chords to the following verses:

Hear Duane Pasco sing this song in Jargon:

"Klootzman kopa Wayhut"

Naika nanitch kloshe klootzman kopa wayhut
Yaka yakso delate klale, sopah pe youtlkut
Moccasin yaka mitlite pe pil tzum sail shut
Hiyu kamosuk pe tkope mowitch skin skut.

"Woman on Road"

Me see good woman on road
Her hair very black, straight and long
Moccasin she have and red calico shirt
Many beads and white deer skin dress.

Chorus: Wo hey ya hey ya wo hey ya hey ya
Yaka mitlite blaun eye pe pil kapala
Tenas yaka la push, tkope yaka la tah
Yaka emeets pewattie, tenas pe sopah
Okoke klootzman delate toketie, anah.
She have brown eye and red cheek
Small her mouth, white her teeth
Her nose thin, small and straight
That woman very pretty, oh my.
Chorus: Wo hey ya hey ya wo hey ya hey ya
Naika wawa, "Kloshe spose maika mahlie naika"
"Naika tum-tum maika kloshe man," yaka wawa
"Keschi naika man mitlite kopa house wake siah"
Okoke klootzman, yaka hee-hee pe klatawa.
Me talk, "Good if you marry me"
"Me believe you good man," talk her
"But me man live in house nearby"
That woman, she laugh and go.
Chorus: Wo hey ya hey ya wo hey ya hey ya
Naika nanitch okoke klootzman konaway ka
Kopa naika tum-tum naika lolo yaka
Naika kwanesum pittuck kopa yaka
Naika halo mahlie okoke klootzman, anah.
Me see that woman everywhere
In me heart me carry her
Me always think about her
Me never forget that woman, oh my.
Chorus: Wo hey ya hey ya wo hey ya hey ya

To be continued...


(Copyright © 1994 by Duane Pasco)

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