I’m not surprised that a newspaper partly in Chinook Jargon was published in British Columbia a century ago, but I’m astonished it lasted for over thirty years; the University of Saskatchewan Library has acquired a run of it and is mounting an exhibition, and the corresponding web page has some great images.
U of S Library has just acquired one of the largest and most complete runs in existence of an important 19th century British Columbia newsletter, the Kamloops Wawa, published between 1891 and 1923. The Kamloops Wawa was a multi-lingual publication written in English, French and Chinook Jargon.
The Wawa was published by the missionary Father Jean-Marie Raphael LeJeune out of the backroom of a church on the Kamloops reserve between 1891 and 1923. At its peak it had a distribution of 2000 copies per month, with a circulation that reached as far as Quebec and France. The newsletter is unusual for its time in that Le Jeune actively sought an Aboriginal audience and focused on local and national Native concerns. It is a very valuable and largely untapped source for scholarly research in History, Native Studies, Religious Studies, Linguistics and other disciplines.
Chinook Jargon is a “pidgin” language, a much simplified and easy-to-learn version of traditional Chinook, designed to allow communication between tribes speaking disparate languages and between First Nations people and Europeans. Its primary use was to facilitate trade, but Chinook Jargon was also employed at treaty negotiations. The Wawa featured both the longhand and the Duployan shorthand version of Chinook Jargon, with English and sometimes French translations, and also translations into other Aboriginal languages.
(Via Bill Poser at Language Log, who provides additional information about the language and the shorthand it was written in.)