Skookum, cultus, hyack, saltchuck, klahowya, tillicum: It is in
words like these that the last vestiges of a lost British Columbian
language remain. It was known as "Chinook". Its use today is mainly
confined to colloquialisms, and place names like Boston Bar, Canim
Lake, Illahee Mountain, Snass Creek, and Skookumchuck. It began as
a trading jargon, but it soon evolved into a distinct West Coast
tongue. Down through the years, as many as a quarter of a million
people relied on it. Chinook was an everyday necessity.
A Voice Great Within Us consists of an introductory
essay by Glavin exploring the development and spread of Chinook
throughout the West Coast, and the place it continues to have in
our history; the Chinook poem, "Rain Language"; Lillards own essay
on the part that Chinook played in his own life and exploration of
British Columbia. In addition, A Voice Great Within Us
includes a lexicon containing hundreds of Chinook words and
expressions and a map and gazetteer of British Columbia, showing
eighty Chinook place names in this province.
A Voice Great Within Us is Number 7 in the
Transmontanus series of books edited by Terry Glavin.