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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Making Wawa

The Genesis of Chinook Jargon

A two-edged sword of reconciliation and betrayal, Chinook Jargon (aka Wawa) arose at the interface of “Indian” and “White” societies in the Pacific Northwest. Wawa’s sources lie first in the language of the Chinookans who lived along the lower Columbia River, but also with the Nootkans of the outer coast of Vancouver Island. With the arrival of the fur trade, the French voyageurs provided additional vocabulary and cultural practices. Over the next decades, ensuing epidemics and the Oregon Trail transformed the Chinookans and their homeland, and Wawa became a diaspora language in which many communities seek some trace of their past. A previously unpublished glossary of Wawa circa 1825 is included as an appendix to this volume.

Table of Contents


A Note on Orthography


1 The Nootka Jargon

2 Pidgin Chinook

3 Approximations at Astoria

4 The Hothouse of Fort Vancouver

5 Waves of Wawa


Appendix – Manuscript 195: A partially Annotated Early Glossary of Chinook Jargon





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