Mudcat Café message #1191366 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #69992   Message #1191366
Posted By: dianavan
22-May-04 - 03:24 AM
Thread Name: Chinook Jargon Songs
Subject: RE: Chinook Jargon Songs
I don't have any songs but I have a story of Bluejay and his sister IOI. Its very old and was performed with dancers and masks before it was outlawed. It was then told in story form by the secret society of storytellers. My grandmother repeated the story to me as a child, verse by verse, many times over. I'm sure it has gone through many variations but I would really like to see it performed some day. I can see the costumes and the masks and would love to know the significance of the story. The other characters are brother Crane, Mother Seal, Father Dipper and Beaver. Have you ever heard it?

Can you put me in touch with a Chinook speaker or playwright or someone in theater? I've been waiting for this for a long time.

Did you know that the reason Chinook was the jargon used so widely? It was the language of trade. The Chinook people controlled the trade on the coast and inland by way of the rivers. The Chinook territory was the economic center of the Pacific Coast. When the Hudson's Bay Company arrived, they knew that if they wanted to control the economy, they would have to wipe out the Chinook. Especially their matriarchal society because the women were too hard to bargain with. Thus they introduced liquor and those nasty blankets (weapons of mass destruction).

I understand that the Federal Government finally recognized the Chinook. For years they said we were extinct. Hybridized yes, extinct, no. I was afraid the language died with Ma.

So where are you from? I grew up in the Cowlitz River valley and spent most of my time in and around the area where the Columbia River meets the Pacific. Thats where my story takes place.