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Tlingit Conversation #30
This material is based on work supported by National Science Foundation grant 0853788 to the University of Alaska Southeast with Ljáaḵkʼ Alice Taff as Principal Investigator, and by National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship 266286-19 to Ljáaḵkʼ Alice Taff. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or National Endowment for the Humanities.
Speakers are Achkwéi Lena Farkas and Naakil.aan Mark Hans Chester. Recorded July 20, 2010 at the home of Achkwéi in Yakutat, Alaska, by Ljáaḵkʼ Alice Taff.
SYMBOLS: {false start}. [translator/transcriber's note]. (added for clarity). ??? = canʼt understand. «quotation marks for Tlingit text».
Transcription by Shag̱áaw Éesh Devlin Anderstrom. English translation by Shák’sháani Margaret Dutson with Ljáaḵkʼ Alice Taff. Edited by X̱’aagi Sháawu Keri Eggleston.
Hóochʼ áwé. {tle w} Tle wé g̱unéi at wutudanaayí áwé
That's all. Then whenever we start drinking
tle {yaa} yaa shukantoolx̱úx̱ tsú.
then we start singing love songs, too.
Thatʼs what the people used to do a long time ago, I mentioned that yesterday.
When theyʼd start drinking and singing those Indian songs.
I really got turned off by that. Since I was a kid, I just donʼt ever, I couldnʼt, that was when, when the government, when BIA said we couldnʼt talk our language.
{wáa sá s wáa sá s iya}
Wáa sá s iyasáa Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱,
How did you say in Tlingit language,
"You canʼt talk your language."
«Tlél aadé {i} yee x̱ʼéináx̱, Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱ yóo x̱ʼeeyataani yé.»
“There is no way in your language, the Lingít language, you can speak.”
{yóo x̱ʼak}, yeah, yóo x̱ʼeeyataani yáx̱.
yeah, (no way) you can speak it. [repeat of the end of the previous phrase]
Uh, anyway, the people would get so lonely, x̱á?
you know?
That when they started drinking, theyʼd start singing their songs.
A long time ago, during that time, even before my time or my motherʼs time,
Uh, we, they couldnʼt speak, uh, Tlingit, so when theyʼd start drinking, because BIA said, "You canʼt talk your language," they would start singing their songs in Tlingit because they didnʼt, you know.
The non-Natives couldnʼt understand what they were saying, you know.
So theyʼd just sing Tlingit. I resented that so much. Oh, I hated it.
Chʼas i tláa een yéi jeené, ách ákwé?
You just work with your mother, is that why?
But I drank when I was young, you know.
Wáa sá duwasáakw, "I drank?"
How do you call 'I drank,'?
At x̱wadináa.
I drank.
And, uh, now I, you get wise as you get older.
Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱ sá, "You get wise as you get older."
Say it in Tlingit, “You get wise as you get older.”
Kʼidéin áwé tle i daa yaa anadág̱i yáx̱ áwé kʼidéin at daa yóo teeyatánk.
As it is really beginning to become clear around you, you think about things well.
Á áwé yéi duwasáakw. {wáa yóo}
That is how they call it.
You look at something from all sides and, and, uh, that makes you wise.
A daa yóo teeyatánk.
You think about it.
Uhuh, youʼre thinking about different things.
Dawóotl yaa ndashán.
It's trouble to be getting old.
Aa, boy, yatʼéexʼ yaa ndashán.
Yes, boy, itʼs hard getting old.
And there was one old lady, the one that stayed across from us, Mrs. B. A. Jack.
She always used to say, {xʼusḵ}
«Yatʼéexʼ ḵustí.»
“Life is hard.”
And she was a grandma already when I heard her say that. Iʼll never forget it.
I thought about it about ten or fifteen years ago. What she meant was,
«Yatʼéexʼ ḵustí.» Life is hard.
“Life is hard.” Life is hard.
And it is, because a long time ago they never thought of that.
Before the white man came, they, they knew they could, I mean
Ḵúnáx̱ áwé {has wu} has litseen.
They are very strong.
Aaá, kʼidéin has du ée at wududlitóow Lingít niyaanáx̱.
Yes, they were taught things well in the Tlingit way.
Daa sá tsú yáa
Whatever else, these
gax̱toox̱áa át,
things that weʼre going to eat,
ḵa chʼa ldakát át
and just everything
daa sá gax̱dulʼóoni.
whatever is going to be hunted.
Chʼa ldakát át áwé, ḵa yáa haa yátxʼi tsú has du léelkʼu hásch áwé has ultínch.
Just everything, and these children of ours, too, itʼs their grandparents that watch them.
Tle ayáx̱ has wuwáadi áwé tsáa,
Then only when they are grown enough,
has du káak jeet jidutaanch wé ḵáaxʼwsáani.
they are given to their maternal uncles, the young boys.
{has du} Has du tláakʼw jeet jidutaanch wé {shaat} shaaxʼwsáani.
They are given to their maternal aunts, the little girls.
Hásch áwé áa has altóow nuch.
It is they who teach it to them there.
Has du tláa ḵa du éesh ḵu.aa áwé, has du tláa yáa x̱áat,
Their mothers and fathers though, their mothers, this salmon,
at x̱ʼéeshi yéi daané ḵa
putting up dryfish and
ḵa tléiḵw
and berries
yánde yaa kakdulgéich.
they put it up (for the winter).
Yá ḵáaxʼw ḵwaawé has asg̱eiwú nuch ḵa has alʼóon nuch.
The men, though, they would gillnet and they would hunt.
Uh, táakw,
Uh, winter,
táakw yís.
for winter.
Ayáx̱ áwé.
That's right.
{á, á áw} Ách áwé {tlél hél haa} hél kaxéelʼ yáx̱ utéeyin chʼáakw.
That is why it wasnʼt like trouble a long time ago.
Yeedát ḵwá tle haa yadujee yáx̱ áyá {tle yéi j}
Right now, though, itʼs like weʼre being reprimanded
tlél yéi jitooneiyí tlél dáanaa haa jee, hóochʼ!
when we arenʼt working, we donʼt have any money, itʼs gone!
Aaá, á áwé l at {wusit} wusakoowúch áwé a x̱oo aa tlax̱ yéi has koowáalʼch tlákw x̱á.
Yes, so the ones that donʼt know anything, some of them, they are always so very broke, you see.
Because they {don} didnʼt learn to do anything to make money, theyʼre, some of them are so poor all the time.
A x̱oo aa ḵu.aa «Tlél ax̱ tuwáa ushgú!
Some of them, though, “I donʼt want it!
Tlél ax̱ tuwáa ushgú!»
I donʼt want it!”
Chʼáakw ḵu.aa,
Long ago, though,
{tléil} tlél ayáx̱ áwé.
that isnʼt how it was.
Yeah, and uh, when she said,
«Yatʼéexʼ ḵustí,»
“Life is hard,”
Iʼll never forget it in my mind. {and, and} But I only found the answer after about fifteen or twenty years ago, when I heard her saying that.
I never forgot it.
Wáa sá s iyasáa, "Iʼll never forget?"
How do you call it, 'I'll never forget'?
Tlél a kaadé x̱at sakg̱waxʼaaḵw.
I will not forget it.
And, and I didnʼt from that time on. Life is hard.
Itʼs such a short statement but it just stayed with me, just because
I wasnʼt really sure, as a child what she, what she meant.
A daa yóo teeyatánk kʼidéin.
You think about it well.
A daa yóo tuwx̱aatán aadé.
I thought about it that way.
{a} Aadé x̱ʼawx̱̱i yé yóo
That's the way I heard it, when
yéi jinéidáx̱ áwé yaa s na.át x̱á, ḵúnáx̱ wudixwétl.
they were walking from work, you see, theyʼre very tired.
Aag̱áa áwé yéi yaawaḵaa.
That is when she said that.
Hél yóo kooshgútkw wé du x̱úx̱ x̱áa.
He couldnʼt walk, her husband, you see.
He, he was overweight and short legs.
Á áwé chʼa wé kadchʼáakʼw nuch ḵu.aa áwé s.
So he just always carved, though.
He carved. And all these, um, soldiers {and} and the Navy theyʼd come to his place and buy these totem poles.
Some of those people that, that he sold to, during World War II,
about six or eight years ago, some of them came back here to Yakutat to see it,
and they brought the totem poles back that he,
that they bought from him.
They gave it to Ḵwáan (Yak-tat Ḵwáan, the local village corporation), I donʼt know what they did with it.
Likoodzée x̱á! I always told them, "You should put it on display in the school, {so} for the kids that are interested in carving."
Thatʼs amazing! -NMHC
So he made a living, you know, with her, and uh,
Wáa sá s iyasáa «interested»?
How do you call 'interested'?
Uh, I would say it,
Ax̱ tuwáa sigóo x̱wasakoowú.
I want to know it.
I want to learn to be able to do it, or
you know, or speak it, or whatever, itʼs something you want to do, youʼre interested.
Ax̱ tuwáa sigóo x̱shagóogu wé kadachʼáakʼw.
I would like to learn how to carve. [as an example sentence]
Oh, aaá. Yakʼéi. Gunalchéesh. Yes.
Oh, yes. Itʼs good. Thank you. Aaa.
Chʼa ldakát át has awuskóowun chʼáakw x̱áayá. Yáa yaakw layeix̱ tsú
People used to know everything long ago, you see. This boat building, too,
has awsikóo,
they know it,
ḵa yáa
and these
g̱aatáa, dáasʼaa yéi daaduneiyí x̱á.
traps, putting up snares, you see.
ḵa yáa sháa tsú,
And the women, also,
harbor seal,
ldakát yá héendáx̱.
everything from the water.
Ó, wáa sá duwasáakw?
Oh, how is it called?
Hintaak.ádi gé?
Underwater thing?
Aaá, hintaak.ádi.
Yes, underwater thing.
Áwé yáa
So then
wudujaag̱ídáx̱ {yóo dulx'ée}
after it is killed, like this,
áwé, yáa a
then, this, its
du yoowú, the stomach.
its stomach, the stomach.
Áwé aax̱ kéi duxaashch.
It is cut up out of it.
Aax̱ áwé ndu.úsʼch.
From there it is washed.
Wáanáx̱ sáwé?
Why is that?
{du} Dusxúk nuch yáa
It is dried, this
A drying frame.
Tʼeesh kaadé, gé?
Onto a drying frame?
Yóotʼát yís áwé yéi daadunéi nich, raincoat, rainpants.
For those things they would make it, raincoat, rainpants.
Yáa a yígi. Sʼélʼ xʼwán gé?
These its guts. Rubber boots?
Yeah. Tléikʼ, yées saa{yí} áwé.
No, thatʼs a new name.
Sʼélʼ Aaá.
Rubber. Yes.
Á áwé, ah,
So then, uh,
ayáx̱ ḵaa jee yakoogeiyí áwé,
when people have enough,
it is cut
yá aadé ḵaa náag̱aa kwg̱atee yé.
the way that it is going to fit a personʼs body.
Like, thereʼs small size, large.
Á áwé,
So then,
uh, {wóoshde} wóosht áwé duḵáaych.
uh, it is sewn together.
tle yáa, ḵa sʼáaxw tsú át x̱á, hood.
then this, and the hat thing, too, you see, hood.
Áwé {át át} kʼidéin wuduḵaayídáx̱ áwé,
After it is sewn well,
uh, yéi has ana.eich.
they put it on.
Out of those seal stomach they made raingear.
Ḵúnáx̱ áwé likoodzí.
It's really amazing.
Uhuh, ḵúnáx̱ chʼáakw tlél daa sá need-x̱ wutulayeix̱.
Uhuh, long ago we didn't need anything.
Wáa sá s {has aw} hásch awsikóo
How was it that they knew it
{a yoowúx̱}
a yoowúx̱ sitee yá
it is the stomach, this
haa naa.ádi.
our clothing.
Haaw, wáanáx̱ sáwé?
Well, why?
Howʼd they figure that out? Wáa sá yakḵwaḵáa "Howʼd they figure that out?"
How am I going to say,
«Wáa sá has awsikóo wáa sá has»
“How did they know how they”
Aaá, «Wáa sá has awsikóo?»
Yes, “How did they know it?”
Tlél x̱wasakú.
I don't know.
Dei a ítnáx̱ áwé ḵux̱wdzitee!
I was born after that!
I donʼt know, I was born after after that.
Ḵúnáx̱ áwé scientists x̱áawé haa léelkʼu hásx̱ wusitee.
Really scientists, you see, our grandparents were.
Dei chʼáakw x̱áawé yá ḵutí tsú, x̱á, the weather, they,
Long ago now, you see, the weather too, indeed
chʼáakw a káa yan has yoodáaych x̱á,
long ago, they always observed it, you see,
wáa sá yá ḵutí kwg̱ateeyí.
how the weather was going to be.
Yáa gáan
ḵa yáa héen tsú wáang̱aneens x̱á ḵúnáx̱ daaḵ udáaych.
and the water, too, sometimes, you know, it really flows up inland. (the tide comes way up)
Fall time-xʼ,
In the fall time,
yáa tlákw daak wustaaní, chʼas kéi gadáaych yáa
when itʼs raining here all the time, it just flows up, this,
yáa tide, x̱á,
this tide, you know,
ḵa, ah,
and, uh,
it was always known
ḵúnáx̱ kéi ḵugux̱sa.áatʼi, x̱á,
when the weather is going to be really cold, you know,
kéi ḵunas.áatʼi áwé,
when the weather is getting cold,
ḵaa neilíxʼ,
at peopleʼs homes,
kʼidéin yéi daaduné, x̱á,
they are done up well, you know, (ʼmade good,ʼ to protect from the elements)
ḵusoo.áatʼ g̱aa x̱á.
lest the people get cold, you see.
Ḵa yáa naa.át tsú.
And the clothes, too.
Wé tsaa. Tsaa doogú áwé yéi du.úx̱xʼ
That seal. They use seal hides
ḵa wé, wé
and the, the
ah, slippers, yáa
uh, slippers, these
neil daa nagutch téel,
shoes that walk around the home,
yéi daa dunéi nuch.
they always made it.
Ḵa yéi kwdiyátʼi aa tsú yéi daaduné, tle boots yáx̱ x̱á.
And the ones that are this long, too, they made, just like boots, you know. (hip boots)
Á áwé
That is
tle ldakát át, daa sá
everything, whatever
daa sá {y} tle yáa at gutu.ádi tsu,
anything, the wild animals, too,
uh, naa.átx̱ wutulayéx̱ch chʼáakw, ḵa xʼóow.
uh, we would make it into clothing long ago, and blankets.
Armor tsú, shákdé.
Armor too, probably.
Wáa sá duwasáakw? A kát x̱at seiwaxʼáḵw. Am,
How is it called? I forgot.
Ah, tlél wáa sá.
Oh, that's all right.
Tlél shákdé a yís yoo x̱ʼatánk {ḵudzitee} ḵoostí.
Thereʼs probably no word for that that exists.
{They, their} Nobody might have thought of a word for armor. I havenʼt heard it.
Tlél x̱wasakú.
I don't know.
Tlél x̱wasakú.
I don't know.
{itʼs a th} itʼs a thought, itʼs a,
uh, Iʼll give you permission to find out. You come back and tell me.
Aaá, gunalchéeshkʼ.
Yes, thank you.
I jeedé x̱'akḵwadatáan násʼk gaaw tsʼootaat,
I'm going to call you, three in the morning,
«Sheendé! Sheendé!»
“Get up! Get up!”
[At shooḵ]
Hóochʼ áwé.
That's all.
Aaá. I think Iʼm done.
Yéi x̱áawé. Aatlein gunalchéesh.
That is indeed the way. Many thanks.
Ḵúnáx̱ ax̱ toowú ylikʼéi, yáaxʼ haat yeey.aadí.
You have really made me happy, that you all came here.
Aaá, x̱át tsú, x̱át tsú, gunalchéesh.
Yes, me too, me too, thank you.
Well, Iʼm glad you folks came.