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Tlingit Conversation #37-38
Speakers are Kaséix̱ Selina Everson, Seidayaa Mary Anderson, Ḵeixwnéi Nora Marks Dauenhauer, Lasaayí Emma Shorty, and Naakil.aan Mark Hans Chester. Recorded August 11, 2010 at Surprise Lake, Atlin, YT, Canada by Ljáaḵkʼ Alice Taff.
This material is based on work supported by National Science Foundation grant BCS-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.
Tlingit transcription by Keetyaanaayi Paul Marks II. English translation by Ḵaaḵal.aat Florence Sheakley and LjáaḵkʼAlice Taff. Edited by Ḵeixwnéi Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Keetyaanaayi Paul Marks II.
SYMBOLS: {false start}. (added for clarity). [translator/transcriber's note]. ??? = can’t understand. «Lingít quotation marks». Time-aligned text for this video was accomplished using ELAN ((Versions 6.0 (2020), 6.1 (2021), and 6.3 (2022) [Computer software]. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Language Archive. Retrieved from
(yila)kʼéi nooch tlél ḵooshkʼéiyi.
when skies are grey [Lyrics of “You Are My Sunshine.” Speakers are singing and making noise to let any animals know they are in the area so no one is surprised.]
You prune them.
Daa chʼa tlákw ax̱ g̱agaaníx̱ inastí.
Just be my sun forever.
You are my sunshine,
my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey. Youʼll never know dear, how much I love you
please donʼt take
my sunshine away.
Hereʼs some mountain blueberry bushes.
The other night dear, as I lay sleeping,
Boy, itʼs just really confusing the bear.
I held you in my arms.
When I awoke dear, I was mistaken. And I hung my head
You are
Thereʼs lots.
Thank you.
Oh, nice.
Goosú wé kanatʼá? Isax̱waa.áx̱ch.
Where are those blueberries? I heard your voice.
Wéidu á, áxʼ
There it is, there
{akaya} Yáatʼát gé?
This thing?
Aa, a kawásʼi áwé.
Yeah, thatʼs its bush.
Yáat ákyá?
Is it here?
Hás ḵu.aa, «crowberries,» yéi has yawaḵaa. Aaa.
Them, though, “crowberries,” theyʼre called. Yes.
X̱'aan yáx̱ yatee ḵu.aa.
They are red though.
I know. I thought crowberries were black.
Yéi x̱áawé, wuháanch wutusikóo.
That is indeed the way, it is us what we know.
Wei wei yaa hu hu hoo.
Gee, not many soapberries, eh?
Here is a couple of, holy! Pickinʼ soapberries in a,
Go up through here.
Up there is good.
Gee, I want to go up there to pick some.
So whatever I pick will be addition to it.
Shaatkʼátsʼkux̱ x̱at sateeyí,
When I was just a little girl,
has du een yoo x̱a.átgin, ax̱ tláa ḵa ax̱ tláakʼw hás.
I used to go with them, my mother and my maternal aunts.
Ax̱ léelkʼw
My grandparent
Oh, yeah.
picking berries.
Wáa sá has du tuwáa sigóo!
How much they liked it!
Ḵukʼéetʼ. {has} Kéi has ashuwustaaní,
Picking berries. When they lifted the end of it,
tléiḵw a tayeexʼ. {tle wé}
the berries underneath it.
Ax̱ tláa yéi x̱'ayaḵáa neech, {tle} «Tle bank dáanaa teen yáanáx̱ áyá ḵʼasigóo.»
My mother would always say, “This is more fun than (being at) the bank with money.”
Tléiḵw haa yátx'i x̱'eis,
Berries for our children to eat,
haa dachx̱anxʼiyán, has du x̱ʼeis.
all of our grandchildren, for them to eat.
Has ax̱sakóowut,
So they can know it,
aadé ḵutoostéeyi yé chʼáakw.
the way we lived long ago.
Chʼas haa atx̱aayí daat woogoot.
She just went around (for) our food.
Sháa aayí{x̱ has du},
The womenʼs things, (their role)
ḵa babies daat yawustaaḵ.
and taking care of the babies.
Yéi áwé has wududziwát, hás tsú. Yeedát ḵwá, {ḵut kei n}
That is the way they were raised, them as well. Now, though,
ḵut x̱waag̱éexʼ, x̱áach.
I have lost it, myself. [or, ʼI have forgotten itʼ]
Aadé has téeyi yé.
The way that they used to be.
Á áyá ḵúx̱de yanax̱toodlaaḵt haa tuwáa sigóo, ḵúnáx̱.
So that we can get it back is what we want, very much.
Yéi áwé sʼé.
That is it for now.
I think I cleaned out my side.
Aa, chʼa yéi googéinkʼ!
Yeah, itʼs just a little!
Haa! Has (a)kawlixákw has du jín tin géyá?
Haa! Did they whip this with their hands?
Tlél x̱wasateen.
I didn't see it.
Ḵaa jín teen áwé kadulxákwl'een.
People used to whip it with their hands.
Wuháanch ḵwá ch'a egg beater tín.
Us though, just with an egg beater.
Tlél, tlél,
Not, not,
tlél jín haa shgóok. [Tlél haa jín tin tushagóok. Per Florence Sheakley.]
We donʼt know how to use our hands.
Tlél k'idéin wutushagóok? or haa shagóok?
ʼWe don't know how to do it wellʼ? [Asking for correct phrase.]
Tushagóok. Tushagóok.
We donʼt know how to do it.
Chʼa yeisú ax̱ jeewú.
I still have it.
Haa, chʼa atkʼátskʼu yáx̱ ax̱ tuwáa (y).
My, I feel like just a child.
Well, I had a little bit in a bag and I lost it.
Haaw, asʼélʼ ax̱ gwéili.
Well, itʼs tearing, my bag.
Thereʼs some right there.
I never thought I was gonna get any, and look what I got.
I have succeded.
Tsóokʼ (a) kaadé kḵwasaxáa.
I will pour more onto it.
A x̱oo aa a tóodáx̱ shoowaxeex, yá
Some of them have emptied out, these
yáatʼaa, yáa woolnáx̱.
this one, through this hole.
Woolnáx̱ ḵut kaawasóos. Ná.
They all fell out through the hole. Here.
Aaá. Gunalchéesh.
Yes. Thank you.
(Wool)náx̱ kaawasóos.
They fell through the hole.
Xwéi! Éḵde kḵwagóot.
Whew! Iʼm going to walk down toward the beach.
Sʼeek áwé a x̱oo yoo uwagút, wé xákwlʼi.
A black bear walked around among them, those soapberries.
Wé ax̱aayí kʼé tle wé du loodé tle yóo á ḵunik neech.
When heʼs eating it, then toward his nose like this is how he always does it. [The human possessive pronoun «du» personifies the bear.]
Has du x̱'éi yak'éi.
It tastes good to them.
Ách áwé ax̱ tláa ḵá ax̱ tláakʼw hás,
That's why my mother and my maternal aunts,
{ax̱ ax̱} ax̱ léelkʼw ḵwá ḵut x̱waag̱éex' ch'a yéi x̱at gusagéink'i.
but I lost my grandparent [perhaps meaning maternal grandmother here] when I was just small.
Tléiḵwg̱aa has gug̱a.aadí tle yoo s x̱ʼala.atgi nooch, all of them.
When they were going to go for berries, then they would speak, all of them.
Ldakát hás.
All of them.
«Haa x̱ʼanaadáx̱ ḵux̱ gaydanaaḵ.
“Stand back from our path. [Addressing the bears]
Haa léelkʼu hás,
Our grandparents,
«Haa yátx'i x̱ʼeis ḵutookʼéetʼ.
we are picking berries for our children to eat.
Haa yátxʼi atx̱aayí yís áwé yáat wutuwa.át.
We have come here for our childrenʼs food.
Ituladléikw tsá. [«tsá» here varies with «tsé»]
Donʼt let us startle you.
Chʼa aadé yéi haa na.oo.»
Forgive us.”
{tlél hu tlax̱} Tlél tsu tléixʼ xóots wutusateen.
We didnʼt even see one brown bear.
{chʼu y} Chʼu shaatkʼátskʼux̱ x̱at sateeyidáx̱ áwé
From the time that I was a little girl
{x̱ʼax̱a.áx̱-} s x̱ʼax̱a.áx̱jin.
I used to hear them say that.
Yeedát ḵwá {ḵut} ḵut wutuwag̱éexʼ, {y}
Now, though, we have lost it,
at gu(tu).ádi een yoo x̱'ala.átk.
speaking to the animals.
X̱áach chʼa tlákw yéi daax̱ané áwé, chʼa tléináx̱ x̱át át nax̱aḵúx̱ch.
Myself, I always do that, I am always driving around by myself.
Wé Skagway road.
The Skagway road.
Blueberries áwé katʼeix̱, tle a x̱oot nax̱agútch.
The blueberries ripen, then I always go out among them.
{chʼa tlákw, tle ldakát át át a}
Ldakát át, a yakg̱wahéiyag̱u ḵudzitee.
Everything has a spirit.
Ách áwé {hél a daax̱}
That is why
{aadé} Chʼa aadé yaa tundutánch.
Just how they thought.
Yeah, kʼidéin i toowú.
Yeah, you have good thoughts.
{k'idéin} K'idéin ḵaa tuwuteeyí yakʼéi.
It's good when oneʼs thoughts are good (clean).
K'idéin i tu(nda)táani yan tután.
Set your mind straight.
A x̱oo aa tsú yéi x̱ʼayaḵá,
Some of them, too, they say,
«Yóo kḵwasanée ḵa yóo kg̱watée.»
“I will do it this way and it will be this way.”
It always change.
I seen it.
Ax̱ tláa, du káa yánde yaa ganée wé ax̱ éekʼ,
When my brothers were preparing (food for winter) for my mother,
daaxʼoonináx̱ áwé has yatee,
there are four of them,
«Dzískʼw áyú i jeedé yéi gax̱tusanée,» yóo has x̱ʼayaḵá.
“We are going to give you a moose,” they say.
Tle ch'a yeisú, déix̱ Sándi uyéx̱i dei wé chʼu x̱'ayaḵáa tle áxʼ, át woogoodi yé,
Then even still, after two weeks had passed since he said, there, at the place where he was walking around (hunting),
tlél tsu daa sá yéi has oosteench.
they still hadnʼt seen anything yet.
Tsu has awusteení, naaliyéide áwé {has}.
When they did see them, it was at a distance.
Áwé ax̱ yéetkʼ yéi nanée áwé,
When my son died,
John Ward yéi x̱'ayaḵá, «Dzískʼw aa kuḵajáaḵ.
John Ward says, “I'm going to kill a moose.
{yee jee} Yee jeedé kḵwatée,» yóo x̱ʼayaḵá.
I'm going to give it to you folks,” thatʼs what he says.
Lig̱aas! Lig̱aas!
Thatʼs taboo! Thatʼs taboo!
Aag̱áa áwé tle, Chʼá, Chʼá
And then
tlél, no more,
not, no more,
Shuḵdéin daayaduḵáa át, has awlig̱aas.
They refrained from speaking jokingly about it (because it is taboo).
«Dudlig̱aas,» yóo haa daayaduḵáayin.
“People refrain from doing that,” thatʼs what they used to say to us.
Du tléig̱u daat yawsitáḵ, ḵúnáx̱.
She is really minding her berries.
Juneauxʼ gíwé {yoo} haa een yoo x̱ʼali.átk?
Was it in Juneau, sheʼs talking to us?
Haadé yaa nagút.
Sheʼs walking over here.
{yóo} Yeedát áwé,
Now, (at this time of year)
sea asparagus áwé {yéi d} wooch kaadé yéi daatooné. No, it was in Sitka.
we are gathering sea asparagus.
And sʼeek ???
And a black bear [standing on its hind legs???]
Wé yatseeneit.
That bear.
Aan yoo x̱ʼali.átk.
They are talking with it.
Tle yínde sh wudzitaan, tle yoodé yaa nagút.
Then it sets istelf down and walks away.
Ḵúnáx̱ {ás} ákʼ has aheenín {haa x̱ʼ} has haa x̱ʼa.áx̱ji, wé xóots,
They really used to believe that they can understand us, the brown bears,
haa léelk'w hás.
our grandparents.
A yáx̱ x̱ʼadulyóo, ḵúnáx̱ ax̱ léelkʼw x̱áawé,
It is referred to by a kinship term, that is really my grandparent (the bear),
Teiḵweidí dachx̱án áyá x̱át.
I'm a grandchild of Teiḵweidí (Brown Bear clan).
Lig̱aas ch'a daa sá kawushóoḵ.
It is taboo to make fun of anything.
Hél ushk'é.
It's not good.
Aan {haa} kéi haa wdudziwát.
We were raised with it.
Aa, x̱át tsú, yéi x̱ʼayax̱aḵá, wé
Yeah, me too, thatʼs what I say,
«Óo, tle násʼk jinkaat yéi kḵwasanée.»
“Oo, I am going to make thirty of them.”
Aag̱áa áyá tle yá ???
And then ??? [obscured by the car starting]
{tlél} Tlél aadé ḵooḵaanoogu yé.
I canʼt do that. (canʼt finish the 30 of whatever she is making)
I think I finished fifteen.
Ḵaa jix̱oox̱ aa x̱wli.át.
I passed them out to the people.
Thatʼs all I need.
Nora and her experience picking berries.
And they used to talk to the bear.
This is the first time for me in Atlin, and Iʼm really enjoying up here because itʼs so dry, so wonderful. Itʼs, it looks so great. And the people are great. And the people are very, very generous and, and um, giving because theyʼre generous. And Iʼm enjoying it. I have met people so wonderful. Iʼve known Seidayaa for a long time. Sheʼs my neice.
Ax̱ káalk'w.
My paternal niece.
My niece from my brotherʼs children. And uh, Iʼm happy to see her again. I keep telling people she bought me this shoes. Theyʼre beautiful shoes. People ask me, "Where did you get your shoes?" I tell them from lady from Whitehorse. I didnʼt know that she came from here, Atlin. So itʼs been nice. Itʼs been wonderful to pick berries with you ladies, and I learned a new way to pick berries.
Yak'éi ḵúnáx̱ yáax' yéi x̱at teeyí.
It is really good that I am here.
Tle chʼa shux'wáanáx̱ áyá yáax'
This is the very first time that here
haat ḵux̱waatín.
I have traveled here.
Ḵa yáa a x̱oot ḵuwtuwatini ḵu.oo,
And these people whose midst we have traveled to,
haa yáx̱ Lingít áyá.
they are Tlingit like us.
Haa yáx̱ Lingít, haa yáx̱ Lingít atyátx'i tsú has du jeewú.
People like us, like us they have Tlingit children, also.
Áyá tlax̱ wáa sá has tuli.aan.
They are so very friendly.
Ḵa {hás tuli.aan, ḵa hás tu},
chʼa ldakát át haa jeedé has ajeewanáḵ.
they have given us everything. (they are generous)
Theyʼre giving.
Áyá ḵuk'éet' wutuwa.aat yáa yagiyee.
So today we went berry picking.
Xákwl'i áwé wutuwa.ín.
We picked soapberries.
Gwál four cups shákdé yax̱waadlaaḵ.
I probably acquired about four cups.
Wé, aa,
That, uh,
ldakát ḵáach áwé ax̱ jeedé kawdig̱éex'.
Everybody contributed to me. (gave me what they picked)
All these ladies, theyʼre, theyʼre giving me their picked berries. She gave me some and that lady gave me some. And Naakil.aan gave me some. So I got about four cups all together. Thatʼs a Lot of soapberries. Theyʼll whip up into many cups. So this is why I feel so happy up here. Itʼs wonderful to be here. Thank you ladies.
Thank you.
Yee x̱oot ḵuwx̱waatín.
I have traveled into your midst.
Yeewháan tsú, gunalchéesh, thank you.
You folks also, thank you, thank you.
We should go maybe towards warm springs, maybe weʼll find different patches.
Daa sá?
Tle yóo tle a x̱oo yoo kaawa.áa.
They grow among them just like that.
Look like decoration.
yéi x̱at daayaḵá,
he says to me,
«Ḵáa tlél ḵookʼéetʼ.»
“Men donʼt pick berries.”
Á áwé {tu wa} tle wé,
So then,
«Gaawáḵ kʼé i x̱ʼéide {n},» yóo yax̱wsiḵaa.
“How about you try a serviceberry,” I said to him.
X̱ʼéi awdinúk, «Ó áwé tlax̱ yéi yakʼéi,» yóo x̱ʼayaḵá.
He tasted it, “Oh, that is so very good,” he says.
Tle á áwé haa een ḵukʼéetʼ.
So then he picked berries with us.
Há, yéi koogéi wé
My, itʼs this big, that
ḵʼwátl tlein, ashawlihík tle.
big pot, and he even filled it.
«K'e áyá aadéi koogeiyi yé,» yóo x̱'ayaḵá.
“Check out how much there is,” he says.
Goosú wé tlél {ḵoo} ḵookʼéetʼin áwé.
Where is that (attitude he had) he never used to pick.
Ch'a yeisú ḵuk'éet' Naakil.aan. He moved further up.
Naakil.aan is still picking berries.
I donʼt hear them.
Now thatʼs the thing I need.
Do you want it? You can have it. Iʼll give it to you.
Wéidu (i) káaḵijeidí.
Here's (your) chair.
Gwéil tsú tusitee.
We have a bag, too.
I pretty near tipped with this one. If she didnʼt grab me, I wouldʼve tipped sideways.
And then she, she needs something when sheʼs standing up.
Tledahéen áwé x̱wsiteen wé
Once I saw that
What time do we have to go back?
What they call that, déx̱ʼ, backpack.
What you call that, back, backpack.
I think supper is about 5:30? 5:30.
Ḵaa díx̱ʼ suitcases.
A-personʼs-back suitcases. [Inventing Tlingit for “backpack”]
Ḵaa yáani.
A personʼs pack.
Yaa nduyáan. Du yáani.
Theyʼre packing it. Their pack.
Isnʼt that right, Nora?
Backpack? Can you call it
du yáani?
his pack?
I knew I had
Áwé x̱wsiteen wé, we
So I saw that,
du yáanayi.
his backpack.
Kuḵa.oo áwé á, ḵúnáx̱ áwé x̱ʼalitseen yóo ax̱ tuwatee.
I am (was) going to by it, itʼs very expenisive is what Iʼm thinking.
Hundred and something for it. So I left it.
Áwé ax̱ neilí x̱waagoot.
So I went to my home.
[Alerting bears]
I hear it, it must be the
??? now that you left me to love another, you have shattered all my dreams. You are my sunshine, my only, only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey. Youʼll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please donʼt take my sunshine away.
[Singing together]