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Tlingit Conversation #95
Haa een {sh kʼ kan} sh kanidaneek.
Tell us who you are.
Speakers are Shx̱oosʼáxsʼ Verna Johnson, (Raven, Deisheetaan, Ḵák'w Hít, Tsaagweidí Yádi, Aangoon Ḵwáan), Shḵanyadaká Elizabeth McCluskey (Raven, L'eeneidí, Aanx̱’aak Hít, Teiḵweidí Yádi, Aangoon Ḵwáan) and Kaseix̱ Selina Everson (Raven, Deisheetaan, Raven House, Angoon,Kaagwaantaan Yádi, grandaughter of the bear clan Teiḵweidí, Raven/Beaver). Recorded May 19, 2013, at Admiralty Suites, Angoon, AK, by Tuli.aan Carolyn Anderson and Liana Wallace. This recording is continued on #96.
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.
I'm Verna Johnson.
Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱ ḵu.aa,
In Tlingit however,
Shx̱oosʼáxsʼ yóo x̱at duwasáakw.
my name is Shx̱oosʼáxsʼ.
Tlingit transcription and English translation by X̱ʼaagi Sháawu Keri Eggleston. Edited by Shag̱aaw Éesh Devlin Anderstrom.
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]
{deishee} Deisheetaan x̱at sitee.
I am of the Deisheetaan clan.
Tsaagweidí yádi.
I am child of the Tsaagweidí clan.
Ax̱ éesh {Kake-náx̱} Kake-dáx̱ ḵuwdzitee.
My father was born in Kake.
Ronald John Junior, I mean senior, dooo.
[ShVJʼs expression, «dooo» means, in this context, something like, “Look at the mistake I just made!”]
how do you say brother?
Du éekʼ. Du éekʼ.
Her brother. Her brother.
Is that the {old} older?
Du húnx̱.
His (older) brother.
Du húnx̱w.
His (older) brother.
Ḵaa húnx̱úx̱ áwé wsitee.
He was the older brother.
Ax̱ éesh Kake-dáx̱.
My father, from Kake.
What else, what else?
He was handsome! Her dad!
He was very handsome.
He was! He was very handsome. And
Your mom?
And your tribal house. Yeah. My mother comes from Angoon, the, we come from the Basket Bay House, excuse me, I'm sorry. We come from the Basket Bay House and
{wáa s} Wáa sá duséix̱ {ḵa}
What do they call
ah, Basket Bay Hít yóo Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱?
Basket Bay House in Tlingit? [According to the “Traditional Tlingit Country” poster, (2003, Tlingit Readers, Inc.), Basket Bay House is «Kaḵaakʼw Hít» and this house belongs to the Ḵakʼweidí clan, not the Deisheetaan clan which Shx̱oosʼáxsʼ said is the clan she belongs to.]
[trying to find the words]
ḵaa ḵóokʼ
{wa sa} ḵaa ḵóok
Excuse us! [At shooḵ]
The Basket Bay House?
Yeah, In Tlingit, thereʼs a longer name in Tlingit. But they say Basket Bay,
turned over.
{yóox̱ yóo a} Yóo áa yax̱ wujitʼákw. Yeah.
It flipped upside down.
Bay, how do you say bay now. Huh! It's hard, where our words, we don't remember it and that's all I've heard.
Tle a kát x̱at seiwaxʼáḵw.
I forgot.
Tle a kát x̱at seiwaxʼáḵw.
I forgot.
Tle a kát x̱at seiwaxʼáḵw.
I forgot.
Eey, yóo áa yax̱ wujintʼagu
Rapids, that flipped upside down
Uh, yeah. Yeah.
It turned upside down.
Well, what happened was
Thatʼs a, a wisdom, I mean
That's, that's uh, actually, you know, that could be used to uh, correct some people like, sometimes, you know, thereʼs always some people, um, making up stories about some, some other people, just to cause some kind of friction; that's what happened with this little beaver. We had a pet beaver in, in, in Basket Bay. Basket Bay was where my people went to work on winter food, to prepare for the winter. And they would come back to Angoon again. They, they had a pet beaver. One day there was this visitor walked the house and this beaver was in that house and this man noticed a spear on the table. He picks it up and he looks at it, he said, "Who fixed this?"
He asked, {aadóot} «Aadóoch sá yéi wliyéx̱ yáat?»
“Who made this here?”
And the beaver said, "My make." And he looked at the beaver and he said, he said, "I made," the beaver said. He made it for his people. And that person turned on it, he looked at the beaver and he turned on the beaver, he said, "Youʼre not their pet, youʼre their slave!" And that's what made that beaver angry, and he slapped his tail. And the whole place turned inside out. Turned upside down. But it's a really beautiful place, have you ever seen it?
Oh, it's beautiful over there right now.
There's so many places I haven't seen, I can barely remember Mitchell Bay.
This is where, this is why we come, we come from Basket Bay is what I'm trying to say. Many people in the community don't know even know that we, they think we lived, we just lived there, we werenʼt. But I remember, I know, I know I was born in uh, the Killerwhale House, here in Angoon, right down Front Street, my grandfatherʼs house.
Ax̱ léelkʼw.
My grandparent.
Killerwhale. My grandfather was at the time uh, the head of the Killerwhales. It was the reason our family was living in there. He was Archie Bell, my motherʼs father. My mother Lucy DeAsis now. And, she uh, she remarried after my dad died, and became a DeAsis.
Á! I have to interrupt.
Língít x̱ʼéináx̱ i tóo kei wuxeexí Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱ yoo kananík,
When it comes to your mind in Tlingit, talk about it in Tlingit,
{i} hél i x̱ʼéi ulidzéeyi aa.
things that arenʼt difficult for you to say.
Áwé has du tuwáa sigóo has awu.aax̱í atyátxʼi Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱
The children want to hear, in Tlingit,
i shagóon ḵa a,
your ancestors, and,
Excuse me!
Now, where was I?
Did you tell the beaver turned it over because he was angry, he was insulted? You could tell it in Tlingit.
Sh tóon wuditee ḵúnáx̱.
He was really offended.
Sh tóon wuditee.
He was offended.
Du lʼeet yan awlix̱útʼ.
He slammed his tail down on the ground.
That's your history!
I had my story, honestly, I had it all set up!
In your mind!
In my mind it's just what these
Big eyes to the camera!
Pretend it's not there.
This big eye does it.
Now I've forgotten where I was and what I was
Anything you, some Tlingit phrases that come to you, so it would be easier to, to. Guess who has to translate? A lot of us in Juneau!
Now, I'm lost.
You did good, in the beginning. Who was I talking about, my grandmother, my grand,
Your grandfather.
You are a grandchild of Daḵlʼaweidí.
Áa ḵux̱wdzitee.
I was born there.
Áxʼ ḵux̱wdzitee.
I was born there. [KSE is comparing the two ways of saying “there” áa vs. áxʼ]
Áa ḵux̱wdzitee.
I was born there.
Áxʼ ḵux̱wdzitee.
I was born there.
That's hard when you try to get in very, the meaning. So in Tlingit, everything is difficult, the third hardest Native American language to learn.
Ax̱ léelkʼu hídi yee ḵux̱wdzitee.
I was born in my grandparentsʼ house.
That sound better? Yeah.
Ax̱ léelkʼu hídi yee ḵux̱wdzitee.
I was born in my grandparentsʼ house.
Daḵlʼaweidí hít a sháade yan uwahán.
He/she stood as leader of Killerwhale House.
You got it?
It'll come back. Frank started in English only and I canʼt, He's my elder and I respect him. If he wants to express himself in English language first, cause you forget. You forget like you, you forget the words that will fit it and you can't speak fluently in your language right from the beginning. You have to warm up to it. Even I get
I know! I mean uh, right here in the village, I know, I know there's a lot of people that can speak Tlingit real fluently, but for some reason the, the English language is a,
Comes out.
A whole, yeah. A whole lot better. And if you want your children to hear you and understand you then you have to speak the language that they know how to speak. That's the other problem.
But then, as I, as I go on with my grandfathers from, from the the killerwhale house, after my grandfather, Archie Bell, passed away, it was years after that that my, my grandmother, who was uh, Mary Bell Wanamaker. She married Andy Wanamaker and uh, we moved, we moved.
Her Tlingit name is important.
Ah, Séikʼ.
Séikʼ yóo duwasáakw.
Séikʼ is her name.
Her daughter was Shx̱oosʼáxsʼ.
No, no, no, no.
Aandisaan áwé Shx̱oosʼáxsʼ yóo duwasáakw du sée.
Shx̱oosʼáxsʼ is the name of Aandisaanʼs daughter.
Aandisaan sée.
Aandisaanʼs daughter.
Yeah, Robert, Robert Zuboff''s mother, is the one that had um,
See? I would have been totally wrong.
Shaadaaxʼ yóo duwasáakw ax̱ léelkʼw.
Shaadaaxʼ is my grandparentʼs name.
Now, you lost me again.
Sheʼll blame it on me all through.
[At shooḵ]
After she married, after gramma Mary,
ah, Séikʼ
married, uh, Andrew Wanamaker, you know what? Elizabeth Peratrovich became my aunt! Isn't that great? We moved to Juneau after that and um,
all, it was during those years that Elizabeth Peratrovich and Roy, Roy Peratrovich fought their big fight to
Anti-discrimination. Anti, yeah.
And, and my mother, Lucy DeAsis, was the lady that took care and raised, raised Elizabeth Peratrovich's children at that time. They (Peratroviches) were never, never home, they were on the road, they were traveling to DC constantly. It got to a point where Elizabeth Peratrovich's children started calling my mom Mom, too! And you know it was really neat, there was three of them, there was two boys and two girls.
I know you want this all in Tlingit, I wish I could do it. Do any part you come to in Tlingit. OK, we got to Juneau, right?
You can pick up anywhere you want.
I'm trying not to look at that camera. Um, do you remember the year
when Elizabeth Peratrovich died now?
1958, yeah. 1958. That's when she became ill. I mean before that. I remember, I remember when she called my mother. It was before my wedding. My mother was preparing for my wedding. And, uh, the phone rings. And she, it was Elizabeth Peratrovich, she called my mom to tell my mom, she said "I want to, I never did pay you when you took care of my children, all the time you took care of my children, I never did pay you sister," she said. "I want to be able to pay you now." I'll tell this one in English. And, uh, she um, my mother was so happy to hear her because, oh, she was having a rough time trying to get things together. And, um, Elizabeth said, "I heard about the wedding," she goes, "I'm gonna take it over. I'll put it together for you." Oh, it turned out so beautiful. I was so happy! And um. It's hard to talk about them, we really miss those elderly people.
The old ones.
I think that's where, thatʼs where, at least we used to be able to speak with our Tlingit, our elderly people, when we had them here. But we don't have any anymore. The last one is Frank and uh, his sister. Emma.
Jenny and Emma. And we barely ever see them. I know Emma hardly ever gets out. But then, there's still another flaw there, because all our grandparents speak English. They all learned to speak English. And, and that's another thing, I remember I used to, I used to tell my grandparents to speak to my children in Tlingit.
«Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱ has du een yoo x̱ʼayla.á!»
“Speak to them in Tlingit!”
I used to tell them, then they start in Tlingit and then they, after a few words they switch to English again. So as a result my children never learned the Tlingit
language too well. They, they, they know some words. They pick up some words. I know Melanie knows and understands the Tlingit language really good, from the time she was knee high.
She heard it.
Her grand, her grandparents were talking one day. She was only about five I think, when her grandparents were talking. Her, my, her, my father-in-law was asking my mother-in-law
Ax̱ʼeiwawóosʼ {daat goos goo} daa sáwé ḵut has aawag̱éexʼ,
He asked her what they lost,
«Áwé suitcase tóot gé ḵeeyashée?»
“Did you look in the suitcase?”
He asked my mother-in-law, and she said,
«Ha, haat,
“Well, then, bring,
haat satí!»
bring it here!”
Melanie jumped up from the chair and she was running into the bedroom and she came dragging that big suitcase out. And my father-in-law was so tickled, he was just, he was just hugging her.
"You understood us?" "Yeah."
«Ḵúnáx̱ áyá ḵusi.áatʼ!» And she,
“Itʼs really cold out!”
It's really cold out.
She always, that's how she learned how speak, to start speaking Tlingit, she's copy the elderly people.
«Ḵúnáx̱ áyá ḵusi.áatʼ!»
“Itʼs really cold out!”
And, ask us some questions, maybe we will be able to answer them.
I'll interject something.This is the tidal wave that happened when we were forbidden our culture, our songs and our dances and the tidal wave is still going.
And it's sad to see. It's really sad to see. Now we are trying to come back and teach our little children and grandchildren.
Yeah, I, I remember, I remember when I went to school in Sitka, me and my brothers. We went to school in Sitka and we went to school in Juneau. And, I don't think the, I don't think the people meant, really, really wanted to be mean. If they heard any of us speaking Tlingit, they laughed at us and then what child was it? They laughed at, I mean, you know, so, Speaking your own language? Yes, especially speaking your own language. And there were times, wasn't it, that they told us not to speak our language in school. Even when we went to Mt. Edgecumbe High school, I remember,
Then this was in the '50's.
Yeah, I remember we were forbidden to speak Tlingit. There were a bunch of us at the Mt. Edgecumbe High School, she went to SJ. And a bunch of us in Mt Edgecumbe High School that were able to speak Tlingit but we couldn't because they just told us not to. And we did ask why we couldn't speak Tlingit when the Eskimos, Eskimo children were able to speak their own language so freely without any, without any interruption, they let them, they let them speak their language. But they stopped us. There was one teacher that we asked and she said, "Because when you, when a bunch of you start speaking your Tlingit language we notice that you stand, stand there and you all start laughing. You make it look like youʼre talking behind somebody. "Oh, for crying out loud! No!
Our language has humor!
Yea, there's a lot of humor when you speak in Tlingit. You could tell a joke and you, if you understand the Tlingit language really well, you could laugh! You try to tell it in English, it's not as funny.
Not even funny!
[At shooḵ]
I have a question, I wonder about things you can remember that your grandparents or your great grandparents used to say to you, maybe when you did something right or didn't do something right. What do you remember that they used to, to say?
I'm gonna, I'm gonna, that brings to mind, when I was going to school here. I was, I think I was in about the fourth or fifth grade. And uh, we were having a test, big test. And the night before that, I've gotta be, I gotta start it like this, the night before that we sent to a movie; everybody went to a movie and we saw Red Skelton and it was really comical. It was about Red Skelton was uh, working in an elderly home. And he, you know how quiet the oldtimers want to be. And Red Skelton was wearing corduroy. And every time he stood up to move he made all kinds of noise. And then it just so happened the next morn, the next day when we were having a test. There was this uh, boy sitting in front, in front of me. I heard when his pencil broke. Oh, Oh. He stood up from where he was sitting, and he happened to be sitting way, we were way over on the other end. He had to walk all the way across to get his, uh, pencil sharpened. So he stood up and he walked all the way. And he was wearing corduroy! It was rubbing! And I burst out laughing! And everybody else started to laugh. And she told me, "Verna, you go to the principalʼs office." And I went there and, I, I told the principal; I grabbed my coat and I told my principal, "Iʼm going home." I felt, was so hurt because I was almost through with my test and it was going so well. I ran home crying. My grandmother was baking bread I remember when I ran into the house. We were in the Killer Whale House. And she,
«Wáa sáwé eewanee?» And um,
“What happened to you?”
I threw my coat off and I told her, I said, "I hate her! I hate her!" Boy she stopped what she was doing right away, she said,
«Haagú yáaxʼ!
“Come right here!
Haagú!» she said.
Come here!”
“Sit down!”
I sat down. And she said, she said in Tlingit, she said, "Don't ever use that word, I hate! You don't hate anybody." How would you say that in Tlingit?
«X̱ashikʼáan.» ???
“I hate it.”
«Tlél aadóo sá ishakʼaaníḵ!»
“Donʼt hate anybody!”
«Tle ḵuwujaaḵ yáx̱ áwé yatee.
“Itʼs just like killing somebody.
chʼa chʼa aadóo sá, chʼa aadóo sá
whoever, whoever
yéi daayeeḵaayi
you say that
yéi daayeeḵaayi yé.»
you say that to.”
That's what she was, she was telling me. She said it all in Tlingit. She said, "Don't ever use that word. To use that word hate is just like killing. Don't ever use it again." And then she start asking me what happened and then I told her. Then she looked at me. "For laughing? You got punished? You got punished for laughing?' Yeah, mhm. Oh, gosh. But,
I think laughter gave us courage; laughter kept us going.
Because that's where the humor, the Tlingit humor, translated to English it's, it's as dead as can be. We tried that with my husband.
"Well, where's the punch line?" We were so deflated. To us it was hilarious.
When we were, we were telling something in Tlingit, a story.
There's a lot of, I wish I had stuck to it. I know I spoke Tlingit really well as a child. As a child I even argued with my grandmother. I was only about seven years old, I think, and,
I used to think {atla} «Atléi, Atléi!»
I used to think “Mother, Mother!”
I used to call her «Atléi.» Mother.
I used to call her “Mother.”
I thought it was "mother." No, I thought it was "gramma!"
Oh, yeah.
I thought it was "gra,"
«Atlée!» I said. I wanted to ask her something.
And she was busy. And so she didn't look at me. I said it again.
My mother answered. I said I'm calling Gramma.
"You said «Atlée»."
“You said ʼMotherʼ.”
"Well, that's gramma!" "No, it's not gramma. It's mum. It's mom." "No it isn't," I said, "It's gramma!"
It does sound like gramma, doesn't it?
Itʼs supposed to be léelkʼw.
Itʼs supposed to be Grandparent.
Well, Danny told me everything that he had to say yesterday and. He told a lot of, a lot of good things. I wish I had come with him so I could just listen.
Your right!
Yea, it would have been really neat. Because he would have been really throwing in some things that I'm. Sometimes we sit at home and we just talk and talk. I say Iʼm going to start teaching them Tlingit language. Iʼm going to start talking to them in Tlingit language.
You have to think Tlingit, you have to say it every day, you have to express things every day, or you loose it. And it's a tough job to come back. How do I say it now?
The first time I made a booboo. I called Charlie Bennet, my uncle,
ax̱ káak.
my maternal uncle.
Oh, yeah.
Tléikʼ, tléikʼ, tléikʼ. I sáni áwé.
No, no, no. Thatʼs your paternal uncle.
What's the difference? He's married to my aunt but he wasn't my blood uncle. So the difference is
i sánix̱ gux̱satée.
Itʼs going to be your paternal uncle.
In all the opposite, that are intermarried, are sánis to you.
I always thought that word was uh, meant uncle?
I sáni.
Your paternal uncle.
Yeah, but from the opposite it can be, but
[”Opposite” is a personʼs fatherʼs moiety. Traditionally, Ravens married only Eagles and Eagles married only Ravens.]
If he was Eagle, Iʼd say «ax̱ sáni.»
my paternal uncle
Oh! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I see what you mean.
And, and if there was an Eagle lady here,
ax̱ aat.
my paternal aunt
and if it's a, Eagle lady related closely to you
yankáxʼ ax̱ aat.
my real paternal aunt.
Close relative on the opposite, opposite side.
So, that would, you were looking for a word to see what gramma said if you did something wrong, something bad.
What did they always used to say, the things that, you know, so that the younger people learning will be able to say them to their kids. What can you remember that they would always say to you?
“Stop it!”
“Stop it!”
«Lig̱aas!» Itʼs a no, no.
“Thatʼs forbidden!”
«I dlaakʼ áwé!»
“Thatʼs your sister!” [Women from a manʼs moiety are forbidden as romantic partners.]
«I dlaakʼ áwé;
“Thatʼs your sister;
stop that!”
«Líl du éex̱ x̱ʼeitaaníḵ!»
“Donʼt speak to her!”
[At shooḵ] Be carefull who you talk to, and
“We refrain from doing that.”
Everything was sacred to them from the land, air and sea. You don't make fun of it.
Most of all, you don't make fun of people. That's the first thing I was taught. No matter how poor they are and they are not
Oh, yes!
You don't ever ridicule a child.
How would they say that to you?
«Tlél, tlél yéi daayeeḵaaḵ.»
“Donʼt say that.”
«Tlél tsu wáa sá daayeeḵaaḵ. Eesháan wé atkʼátskʼu.»
“Donʼt say it that way again. That poor child.”
Uh, how do you say poor, or orphan, sometime,
kuhaantíx̱ sitee.
he/she is an orphan.
Orphaned child.
Poor people.
Poor people.
Poor people.
{yá ḵʼanash has} Ḵʼanashgidéix̱ has sitee.
They are poor people.
It means that's a poor family. Don't ever belittle them.
Or make them feel poor.
It would be something like
Itʼs not,
hél ushkʼé ḵáa wáa sá daayaduḵaayí.
itʼs not good the way they talk about people.
Yeah, there you go.
They used to say that.
Ḵaa káa ayadagútx̱ chʼa ḵáa wáa sá daayaduḵaayí.
What a person says comes back to them.
Chʼas ḵusax̱án tóonáx̱ yakʼéi at yáx̱ at dusneiyí.
Itʼs good to do things only through love.
That was beautiful, that.
The kids will hear it. Donʼt ever! Only be, just kindness, show kindness to people.
To children especially. So, it comes back to you.
«Chʼa ḵaa léelkʼw ḵachʼoo ḵaa x̱ooní i éet x̱ʼawutaaní, {yáa d}
“When a personʼs grandparents or a personʼs relatives speak to you,
hél chush yáaxʼ yoo yeesḵéigiḵ i een yoo x̱ʼala.átgi,»
donʼt respond in defense of yourself to them as they talk to you,”
they said.
«Tsu iwoojeeyí
“Even if theyʼre laying into you,
hél chush yáaxʼ yoo yeedaḵéigiḵ.»
donʼt respond in defense of yourself.”
They used to tell us a lot of things too.
«Wooch yáa ayaduné yakʼéi.»
“Itʼs good to respect one another.”
Wooch isx̱án.
Mutual love.
That's what our people stressed on.
Wooch yáa ayaduné.
I remember I used to admire uh, her dad's mother, I forgot her Tlingit name. I used to say it all the time. Uh,
Charlie Johnʼs wife.
Oh, what was her Tlingit name. Oh, gramma.
What was your dadʼs name now?
Uh, [At shooḵ]
See? We have to,
Oh, my goodness!
But anyway, I admired that lady. She's uh, from what I know she was the kindest lady.
Oh, she was!
She was really kind, she never said anything. My family used to talk about her.
{tlél chush yáaxʼ} Hél tsu wáa sá yoo ḵuwoosḵéik. «Hél ḵaa yatʼéi yoo x̱ʼaytáng̱in.»
She never said anything about anybody. “Donʼt speak behind peopleʼs backs.”
She said,
ḵa sakwnéin awus.eeyí tsú,
and when she was making bread,
atyátxi jeedé adaanéi noojín gáanxʼ ash koolyadi atyátxʼi.
she always used to hand it out to the kids that were playing outside.
And she's one of them I admired. And there was another man that I admired was, what's his name? Saantoox̱, no, that other one that's related to you again. Is what's, he stayed by, across Silvas house?
Oh, uh, Robert?
Robert Zuboff?
I forget,
Grampa Robert.
I can't think of his Tlingit name. Zuboff?
I can't either! What's Robertʼs last name?
I used to think of it all the time.
Whatʼs Robertʼs last name?
[At shooḵ]
Is he the one that said the lights will be on in a jiffy?
No, that, that, that ,that was um, that was uh, Robert Johnson.
Robert Johnson.
Yea. He's the brother, brother of grampa Robert, too.
and another one I admire,
They have real long complicated names.
James Jackson.
Oh, yeah!
It's George Klushkan.
He used to Yes, George. George Klushkan.
He used to dress up real nice.
Ḵúnáx̱ yan sh usnéiyjin tlákw.
Really nicely he was dressed all the time.
He used to walk with a cane. All the kids would be saying hello to him.
Hello, Ḵaag̱éish!
Oh my shéeshgin!
Oh my shéeshgin! Those kids would
His name was Ḵaag̱éish.
Oh, I remember him! Mr. William Jackson.
Yeah. He used to live right next door to us.
I was trying to think of Robert Zuboff's Tlingit name.
Shaadaaxʼ. Shaadaaxʼ, yeah.
He's the one um, that first teach the kids how to dance and sing songs. My son was in it so I know he was.
The kids loved him. They were the first ones to learn.
He used, he used to, he used to go to the school to teach them, too.
That's what Danny was talking about yesterday.
He used to come to my house. My youngest boyʼs Tlingit name was, uh, what was it now.
Don't look at me, he was your boy!
They changed his name so often, at parties.
Which one, Donny?
Donny, uh,
He told it to me, too.
Yeah. Yeah, he men, mentioned it.
In one ear and out the other.
Is that it?
Shaayikáx̱? Yeah.
Yeah. That's one of them. That's one of them. The other one sounds pretty much the same.
Shaayikáx̱. What is Sam Johnsons Tlingit name? Now I forgot.
Youʼre asking the wrong person!
That's your, that's your uncle.
Sam Jackson?
Oh, Sam Jackson.
That's another, that's another real kind person.
Sam Johnson.
My father-in-law? Sam Johnson? You asking about Sam Johnson or Sam Jackson?
I canʼt even think.
Áayaax̱. Áayaax̱, yeah.
Heʼs the one that married us when we got married.
Násʼgináx̱ uháan,
There were three of us,
Peggy ḵa Mary Thomas ḵa x̱át.
Peggy, Mary Thomas and me.
Haa een yoo x̱ʼawli.át, before we got married he said,
He told us,
{Shaa} «Shaawát{ch} áwé yadígaa yáx̱ yatee du x̱úx̱ jiyís.»
“A woman is like a rudder for her husband.”
He said,
«Shaawátch áwé gux̱latéen wé dáanaa. Hóoch áwé du x̱úx̱ jiyís agux̱latéen.
“The woman will look after the money. She is the one that should look after it for her husband.
{hél} Hél ushkʼé ḵáach latíni,» he said.
Itʼs not good for the man to look after it,» he said.
I agree!
And he really talked to us; he really preached to us.
He was a magistrate.
April fool ká áwé aadé wutuwa.aat to get married.
We went there to get married on April Foolʼs day.
He said, «No!
Hél ax̱ tuwáa ushgú.
I don't want to.
Hél ushkʼé yáa yagiyee.»
Todayʼs not a good day.”
He said, "Today is not a good day, April Fool."
It's not a day to get married.
So we had to go back the next day.
They went to get married on April Fools Day.
He told us, «Hél ushkʼé yáa yagiyee.»
He told us, “Today is not a good day.”
Chʼa daa sá Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱ i tóo kei uwaxíx.
Whatever comes to your mind in Tlingit.
When Frank got started he did really well.
Speaking about Teiḵweidí Ḵwáan.
Speaking about Teiḵwedí people.
You started with a good, the Basket Bay.
You didn't introduce yourself.
Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱. She did. Did she?
in Tlingit
Tatgé, tatgé x̱á.
Yesterday, yesterday you see.
That's yesterday, today is today.
New day!
I introduced Dan.
He said, gramma, you have the right to introduce me, for the video. You can introduce Lydia! Liza, Minelli.
Chʼa daa sá i tóo kei uwaxíx.
Whatever comes to mind.
Speak up!
Aadé haa yadujee nooji yé ldakát át daat.
How we just used to get disciplined about everything.
Ḵúnáx̱ has haa woojee noojín haa léelkʼu hás.
Our grandparents really used to reprimand us.
Yeah, that's right.
Ldakát át áx̱ has haa kwlagéiḵ noojín.
They prohibited everything from us.
«Hél ushkʼé,» yóo has haa daayaḵáa noojín.
“Itʼs not good,” they always used to say to us.
Ḵa yéijiné has ooxíchjin,
And they really put effort into their work,
yá haa shagóonxʼi.
our ancestors.
Shukalx̱aach ḵa,
Trolling (for salmon) and,
ldakát át yéi s adaanéi noojín.
they used to do everything.
Yeedát ḵwá hél haa jee {yéi u}, haa atx̱aayís.
Nowadays we donʼt have, our foods.
A lot of them,
hél yéi daatooné.
we donʼt put them up.
Yei haa ndaxílʼ. [At shooḵ]
Weʼre getting troubled. [Laughter]
Aadé haa yadujee noojí yé ḵuwunaawú tsú.
How they used to discipline us when someone died, too. [They used to say they shouldnʼt make noise around there when someone had died.]
Hold still.
Jée, chʼa at tooshooḵ.
Gee, we were just laughing.
Tle xʼáant uwanúk ax̱ tláa.
My mother got angry.
«Quiet yáx̱ yee nastí!
“Be quiet!
Yéi tuwduwanúk.»
People are suffering.”
??? family.
Hél a yáanáx̱ yaa oogútch yéi tuwanugu ḵáa.
One never walks past a suffering person.
They said, «Wa.é tsú du een i toowú ganéekw,» they used to tell us.
They said, “You too, you feel the sorrow with him,” they used to tell us.
hél tsú ḵáa dushooḵ.
you donʼt laugh at people, either.
«Hél ushkʼé {ḵaa} ḵáa kawdushóog̱u, sík.»
“Itʼs not good to laugh at people, daughter.”
He used to tell us a lot of things.
??? think.
But they, they really lived a good life.
Yeedát ḵwá chʼa koogéiyi áyá ḵutudzitee.
Now though we just live carelessly.
wooch éex̱ has dashee noojín tlákw ldakát át een.
they used to always help each other with everything.
Yeedát tsú chʼa yeisú haa jeewú de wooch éex̱ dashee.
Now still we help each other.
Ḵaa chʼa wáa sá wuneiyí tle ldakát áa yéi ḵunateech. {Every}
And when something happens, everybody is always there.
Ax̱oo.aa x̱ʼagáaxʼ teen.
Some people with prayer.
Ax̱oo.aa has du dáanayi {has du} ḵaa jeex̱ has atee tsú. {there was}
Some of them give their money to people, too.
Du een ḵukg̱watin aa ḵáaḵwt uwaneyi aa.
The one that will escort the person that something bad has happened to.
Jikawduwaḵayi aa. Opposite clan.
The one that has been commissioned to do something. Opposite clan.
What a beautiful culture.
Ḵu.éexʼt ḵuwuhaayí (recording skips) ḵú.a daat ḵu.éexʼ.
When itʼs time for an invitational gathering, ???
{at wus} (recording skips)
«káx̱ yéi jinayné!» they used to tell us.
“work for [the benefit of] it!” they used to tell us.
{at wu ul}
«Aadé ḵukg̱waháa áxʼ i éede gux̱dashee yé,
“There will come a time when it will help you,
daa sáwé,
Whatever you learn, I can't even,
Daa sá yaa nisakwéin.
What youʼre learning.
Daa sá yisakoowú.
What you know/learn.
Daa sá yisakoowú.»
What you know/learn.”
Daḵéisʼ ḵa da.aak shóoxʼ has g̱aḵéejin.
They used to sit down to sew and weave.
Blueberries ḵukʼéetʼ.
Picking blueberries.
Ḵákw, ḵákw een át has na.átjin.
Theyʼd walk around with a basket.
Ḵákw tsú yéi adaanéi noojín ax̱ tláa.
My mother used to work on baskets, too.
Da.aak. A kát x̱at seiwaxʼáḵw.
Weaving. I forgot that.
Da.aak a shóo has g̱aḵéech.
Theyʼd sit and weave.
Wáa sá wushinéekʼ ax̱ tláa. White old flour bag, remember? They used to bleach it. Put it on her lap before she picked up her moccasins, so they won't get dirty. Talk about your mom and your dad. No, she is doing good. We gotta hear from you too! Because look, she's going to, Oh well, Iʼll tell them, "Donʼt pay Verne." Oh, that's why shes,
My mother was so meticulous.
Tsú s awuskóowun tsu
They also knew
Chʼu tle ldakát át yéi s adaanéi noojín.
they used to work on.
Sakwnéin kei kdulḵáchch.
They would let the bread rise.
Sakwnéin kasʼóok. Fry bread.
Fry bread.
Geenóok een át has na.átjin Easter káxʼ.
They used to walk around with Easter bread on Easter. [Russian Orthodox Eucarist bread]
Ldakát wé ḵu.oo jeedé yéi {s a} daadunéi noojín.
They would hand it out to all of the people.
Kʼwátʼ kadulséḵʼx̱un Easter.
They used to dye eggs on Easter.
Presbyterian Church I remember big baskets
of colored eggs. Memorial Day.
Memorial Day kaadé tsú.
For Memorial Day, too.
just out of that, uh, crepe paper.
Ḵʼeikaxwéin yéi s adaanéi noojín.
They always used to make flowers.
They used to really amaze me. They used to make pretty flowers, too.
Wooch g̱unayáade yéi s anasneijín.
They always used to make all different kinds.
Aax̱ áwé has na.átch
They would leave from there
wé cemetery-dé. É! ???
to the cemetery. Oh! ???
Flowers everywhere.
Presbyterian-dé yoo s átgin too.
They used to go to the Presbyterian church too.
A káxʼ x̱ʼagáaxʼ yéi s awusneiyí aan has na.átjn.
When they have done a prayer for (the flowers), they would leave with them.
Wáa sá
haa een yoo x̱ʼadul.átgi
they say to us
áwé du tuwáa sigóo awu.aax̱í.
is what she wanted to hear.
Áwé aawawóosʼ.
She asked that.
I don't think she got an answer. But to be truthful. I'm going to say something in English. The elderly people, our elderly people, our grandparents, our parents were really strict with us. We were strict. We were brought up strict. There was no two ways about it. There was a lot of
Ldakát át áwé chʼa daa sá yéi gax̱{du}dusneeyí,
Everything, whatever was going to be done,
There was, say there was a big dance going on, or um, there was a sale or something going on. Boy, they, the elderly people made it a point, "You be good, you sit still, you listen, you listen to what's going on." The parties, the pay-off parties. They never used to take kids because they had to,
Be quiet.
be really quiet. Thatʼs thatʼs because of all the things that used to, that go on. Even today the things that these guys,do.
Tle yáa yagiyeedé.
Even today.
Wáang̱aneens, wáang̱aneen sáwé yéi has yandusḵéich wé
Sometimes, sometimes they would tell them,
haa sháade háni,
our leader,
Haa sháade dag̱anáḵxʼi.
Our leaders.
Our leaders.
tlél, tlél,
not, not,
I always have to say it in English. They get accused of being too strict. But that's the way our grandparents were.
Yéi áwé has téeyin haa een,
Thatʼs the way they were with us,
haa léelkʼu hás.
our grandparents.
«Kulitsʼígwaa ldakát át,» they used to say.
“Everything is delicate, requiring tact,” they used to say.
Itʼs a delicate matter, requiring tact.
There's, there's a, at certain time at a payoff party, there is, everything has to stop. You have to pay attention to those three that's up in front.
Has du x̱ʼéix̱, x̱ʼéix̱ dus.aax̱.
Their mouths, people listen to (their) mouths.
Because itʼs, there's certain things that has to be done, and said.
Ldakát ḵáach ḵu.aa áwé,
Everybody however,
wáang̱aneens yéi has daayaduḵáa nuch {tlél, tlél ayáx̱, tlél}
sometimes theyʼd always say,
Tlél ḵaa tóog̱aa {woo} has uwaḵéik wáang̱aneens.
People sometimes donʼt accept what theyʼre telling them.
{aa} Tsu yéi tsú x̱̱jín, {hél}
I also used to hear,
hél {ḵaa}
«Ḵaa tug̱áa yoo s wooḵéik.»
“People like what theyʼre telling them.”
Tléixʼaa ḵu.aa, «Kaa tóoḵ g̱aa,»
The other one though, “For a personʼs butt,”
duwa.áx̱ch, «Ḵaa tug̱áa.» [At shooḵ]
it sounded like,”To a personʼs liking.” [Laughter]
Erase that one.
Ḵaa tug̱áa yoo s wooḵéik.
People like what theyʼre telling them.
Chʼa uháan tsú,
Us too,
chʼa uháan tsú
us too
{ḵut kei sh}
ḵut kei sh katoolníkji {tlei t} tle,
when our storytelling/preaching is going astray,
«Tléikʼ, hél ayáx̱ áwé!»
“No, thatʼs wrong!”
Tle ldakát tle,
sh tóon yoo haa diteek.
we get upset.
Haa sháade hánxʼi ḵut kei s haa shuna.át.
Our leaders are leading us astray.
Yeah {tle tle} hás tsú tle
Yeah, they too
ldakát át has du káa kdusxéix̱.
everything gets dumped on them.
Has du káa kdus.háaych.
It gets blamed on them.
Ḵáaḵwx̱ yei ana.át.
People are making mistakes. [or, “People are walking right down into blunders.”]
Yáaxʼ áwé {ax̱} ax̱ séekʼ,
Here my daughter,
«Waa sáwé Aangóonxʼ ḵwá
“Why is it that in Angoon
haa x̱'akanduḵéijin,
they always used to give us orders on what to say,
haa x̱'akanduḵéijin?
they always used to give us orders on what to say?
Sheetkʼá ḵwá tléikʼ.»
Not Sitka though.”
Áwé Sheetkʼaadáx̱ ḵaa sháade háni,
So the leader from Sitka,
«Yáa ax̱ x̱ánt gú, ax̱ díx̱ʼxʼ yan hán.»
“Come here by my side, stand behind me.”
Ḵúnáx̱ wududzikoowu shaawát áwé (yéi) ayawsiḵaa.
He said that to a woman that was very well known.
Haaw, Kiks.ádi.
Well, a Kiks.ádi.
Centennial Hall-xʼ yaa yanaxíx.
It was taking place at Centennial Hall.
Wé naa tláa gíwé yéi yawdudziḵaa?
Was it the clan mother that was spoken to that way?
Kiks.ádi sháa aawax̱oox̱.
He summoned a Kiks.ádi woman.
áa ḵudunáak yú sháade háni.
leader that was sent there. [aybe «áa kadunáak,» “they were training him there,”]
Xʼoon táakw sá.
How many years.
Haaw, Aangóonxʼ ḵwá,
Well, conversly, in Angoon,
yóo has haa x̱ʼakayaḵéik, they let us speak.
they have us speak,
Any other, the chiefs in the area, no, the women, they don't talk. But stand behind. I haven't attended
ḵu.éexʼ in
a potlatch in
in any other town, that I remember. I don't know what happens in Hoonah.
Wooch g̱uwanyáade {yaa yakdu} yaa yakdusxíxch.
They run it in different ways.
Yáat áwé ḵúnáx̱ chʼáagu yáx̱ yaa yagaxíxch.
Here, it still happens in the very old way.
Even, even so,
Even, I want to, here I go. Just what youʼre saying is how different it is to have, when it comes to the culture, working, doing the culture, different communities. It really, really is different. Yakutat is really way, way different from what, uh, Angoon
Angoon does, Hoonah tsú.
Hoonah too.
In Hoonah.
Hoonah tlél nadáakw {yéi} káa yéi du.úx̱xʼ.
In Hoonah they donʼt put things on the tables.
G̱ushkasʼíxʼ áwé yaa yagaxíxch.
The plates on a personʼs lap is practiced.
One of,
one of my friends talked to me about that. She said, "We used to use tables. We used to use tables," she said. "We stopped because every time we have a party the people that get invited bring all the families. Long ago, I remember, I remember when
Long ago
Long ago,
{haa x̱án} haa x̱ánt awugoodí
when some came to our house
ḵu.éexʼ sákw,
for (an invitational) party,
{a x̱oox̱ yaak dul} they use
xʼúxʼ has du jeexʼ.
they have paper.
Ḵaa saayí.
Peopleʼs names.
Ḵaa saayí a káa kdushxítx̱.
People would write their names on it.
«Yóotʼaa áwé,
“That one over there,
you are invited.
You are invited.
Wa.é tsú iwduwa.éexʼ.»
You too are invited.
Was I ever proud when the, my name was on it one time.
«Shx̱oosʼáxsʼ tsú wuduwa.éexʼ.»
“Shx̱oosʼáxsʼ is invited too.”
I was just a little girl!
Shál teen
With a spoon,
gúxʼaa ḵa sʼíxʼ.
a cup, and plate.
Shál, gúxʼaa ḵa sʼíxʼ.
Spoon, cup and plate.
They forgot napkins.
Wáa sá duwasáakw Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱ "napkins"?
How do you say “napkins” in Tlingit?
That's the other, that's the other thing. And I heard that was the reason Hoonah stopped using tables. But we use tables here. Because all our kids are learning those things. They are learning and theyʼre just, really proud of them. Because though they get noisy, they could come after the party
is over. Matthew tries to keep
kids out. He used to try. After the party is over they line up and the come over to the head guys, Danny, Alan and, uh, Garfield. They start asking questions. How come this was done this way. They ask them. They tell them. Or how come that person didn't bring anything? How come that, they notice everything.
Children do.
[At shooḵ]
Are you recording? Yes, you want me to stop? Oh, no! I want them to speak Lingit more.
I'm trying! Hél ash tuwáa {ash} kei gux̱shagóo wé shaawátch.
The ladies are not going to like it.
X̱át yee x̱ʼakakḵwanéek, so Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱ yoo x̱ʼayla.á.
I am going to translate you (two) myself, so speak Tlingit.
Yaa x̱at ḵʼagux̱layéil, «Yóo áwé x̱ʼayaḵá wé Verna!»
I am going to keep lying, “Thatʼs what Verna is saying!”