December 14th, 2023. Snass Session. John Jackson Lillooet 1895.

 Snass Sessions 12.14.2023: John Jackson, Lillooet, 18951

David Douglas Robertson, PhD

Consulting linguist, Spokane, WA, USA 


My blog article on “The Story of a Stump”. 

My blog article establishing the real person, “Judge” Archibald Pelton. 

Visit Juli Baumler’s webpage of “Chinuk Pipa” (BC alphabet) resources.

Background information on this writer:

John Jackson wrote 3 letters that we have found. He’s mentioned once in Kamloops Wawa as a subscriber. Today’s letter appears to be one that Kamloops Wawa wound up discussing. 

Lillooet is a historically St’át’imc (“Lillooet”) Salish village in south-central British Columbia. It was very important in the gold rush era that brought Chinuk Wawa to the interior of BC. 

There’s usually little or no punctuation in the Indigenous-written letters, so what you see here is pretty much my additions of commas, periods, and so on. 

If you see [SIC] in square brackets it shows possible mistakes in the writing; other material [in square brackets] is inferred and added by me. 

*Asterisked* material shows an uncertain reading of the Chinuk Pipa writing. 

Underlined material is in other languages than Chinook Jargon. 

Anything < in angled brackets > is non-Chinuk Pipa, i.e. written as standard English in the original document. 

The notation (Ø) shows that you can understand a clause to contain either “silent IT”or a “silent preposition”. 

I have put line breaks between every clause-containing sentence, and added punctuation, to help the reader. (But I’ve preserved each writer’s own idiosyncratic punctuation marks.) I’m sometimes experimenting with extra indentation to show the existence of subordinate clauses. (And to reflect the flow of the speaker’s thoughts.) 

Many thanks to all of you who participated in this Snass Session! 


The Letter

The letter, transcribed & with a suggested translation:

Kopa mun Shanwari < 9 >* ditz < 1895 > Lilwat-ilihi* Ukuk-son in month January 9 day 1895 Lillooet-place this-day

‘In the month of January, 9th day, 1895. Lillooet villlage.Today’ 

naika tiki tanas-wawa kopa maika Pir Lshyun naika papa liplit I want little-talk to you Pere Le Jeune my father priest ‘I want to chat with you, Pere Le Jeune, my father the priest.’ 

Hilo kanawi naika iskom maika chikmin kopa tanas-manKakwa naika ilo 

not all I collect your money from young-men so I not ‘I haven’t collected all of your money from the young men. So I’m not’ 

patlach kopa [maika]* ukuk maika chikminPus naika iskom kanawi ukuk 

send to [you]* that your money when I fetch all those ‘sending you that money of yours. When I fetch all of those’ 

maika buk klaska chikmin alta naika patlach kopa maikaTlus mai[ka] 

your books their money then I send to you please you ‘books of yours(,) then their money I can send to you. Please’ 

ilo sik-tomtom kopa ukuk lakit tanas-man sha-bon kopa u[-]

not hurt-hearted about these 4 young-men jaw-bone for those ‘don’t be upset about these 4 young fellas owing for those’ 

kuk maika bukPi wiht naika wawa kopa maika naika papa 

your books And also I say to you my father ‘books of yours. And also I’ll say to you, my father:’ 

Lili ukuk buk mitlait kopa tawnKlonas-klaksta iskom mokst

longtime those books be.located in town maybe-someone fetch 2‘Those books sat in town a long time. Gosh knows who picked up 2’ 

shanti-buk kopa tawnNaika klatwa kopa Mison-Lik pi ukuk maika buk k’o 

song-book in town I go to Mission-Lake and those your books arrive‘of the hymn books in town.I went to Mission Lake and those books of yours arrived’ 

kopa tawnPi lili mitlait ukuk buk kopa post-ofisKopit ukuk na[ika] 

in town and longtime be.located those books at post-officeonly this I ‘in town. And those books sat a long time in the post office. This is all I’m’

siisim kopa maikaPi withAlta mokst tai[m]s* naika tlap tanas-man klaska 

tell to you and also now 2 times I receive young-men their ‘reporting to you. And also: Now twice I’ve received the young men’s’ 

nyus-pipaIaka drit ilo [SIC: for “ilo drit”?]Tanas-tzipi ukuk nyus-pipa Alta naika 

news-paperthey right* not little-wrong those news-paper now I ‘newspapers.They weren’t entirely (all) right. Those newspapers were a bit messed up. Now I’

tlus-nanich alta [SIC: for kata*?] ukuk nyus-pipaPi wihtAlta naika 

good-watch now/how* those news-papersand also now I ‘keep an eye out for what condition* those newspapers are in. And also: Now I’ve’ 

k’o kopa iakwa Kayutz-Krik-ilihiNaika mamuk-skul tanas-man kopa 

arrive at here Cayoosh-Creek-place I make-lesson young-men at ‘arrived over here, Cayoosh Creek village. I’m teaching the young guys over’ 

kopa [SIC] iakwa(.)< 6 > ditz Shanwari naika k’o kopa iakwa-ilihiPi wiht 

at here 6 day January I arrive at here-place and also ‘here. January 6th I arrived at this place. And also,’ 

iht naika tiki mamuk-komtaks kopa maika Kopa iht sno tlun mimlus kopa naika ilihi 

one I want make-know to you in one year 3 die at my place‘one thing I want to let you know of: In one year, 3 have died at my home village,’ 

Lilwat-FlatIht iaka nim PitirIaka drit ol man pi iaka mimlusPi iht wiht 

Lillooet-Flatsone his name Peter he really old man and he die and one more ‘Lillooet Flats. One was named Pete. He was a really old man when he died. And one other’ 

iaka nim Sharli nsaika wach-man kopa LilwatLili iaka sik O iaka his name Charlie our watch-man at Lillooetlongtime he sick oh he ‘was named Charlie, our watchman at Lillooet (village). He was sick a long time. Oh, he’ 

aias-klahawiam pi iaka mimlusPi iht wiht iaka nim Maranda* ol kluchmin 

very-pitiful and he die and one more her name Miranda* old woman ‘was so miserable when he died. And one other was called Miranda*, an old lady.’ 

Lili iaka sik pi iaka mimlusPi wiht naika wawa kopa maikaIkt[a] 

longtime she sick and she die and also I say to you what ‘She was sick a long time and she died. And also I’ll say to you: What are you doing’ 

maika patlach kopa naika hloima lalan.gNaika tiki nsaika lalan.gKaltash 

you send to me foreign language I want our language no.good ‘sending me foreign languages? I want our language. There’s no point’ 

pus nsaika komtaks Shushwap lalan.gNsaika ilo kanamokst wawa kopa 

if we hear Shuswap language we not together talk with ‘for us to hear the Shuswap language. We don’t talk (the same language) with’ 

kopa [SIC] klaskaWal klahawiam Naika Shon Chakson with them well goodbye I John Jackson‘them. Well, goodbye. I’m John Jackson