Monday, January 30, 2006

328 Chinook hymnody

A few posts back at my other, other blog I mentioned the "fun" of browsing the Yale Beinecke Library uncataloged database and trying to discover the keywords that might bring up some entries. I used "horse," "letters," "manuscript," "woman" (didn't get much, which may mean those were rushed right to cataloging), and today I tried "hymns." I thought perhaps that genre would languish in a Yale backlog. I found a first reading book for Chinook that included hymns. Interesting. So I Googled Chinook because the only chinooks I knew about were strong winds and helicopters. There apparently are still a few Chinook Indians in the Pacific Northwest, they helped Lewis and Clark, and their language became the lingua franca jargon of the area. So I peeked around and found some interesting bibliographies, and eventually came to "Early Canadiana Online" and found some wonderful Chinookiana full text, online.

Now to the point of this blog, which isn't about Indians in the Pacific Northwest. I'm a Lutheran and although I love singing camp songs at informal gatherings in the woods and after potlucks, and I can swing and sway and raise my hands, I'm less than thrilled to stare at an overhead screen on Sunday morning and sing ditties that repeat and repeat. Here's what they were writing in the 19th century about teaching the Chinook Indians Christian hymns:

"These hymns have grown out of Christian work among the Indians. They repeat often, because they are intended chiefly for Indians who cannot read, and hence must memorize them."


Cross posted at Collecting My Thoughts.

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