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Tlingit Conversation #96
This recording is a continuation of #95. Speakers are Shx̱'oosaxws Verna Johnson, (Raven, Deisheetaan, Ka ḵáak'w hít, Tsaagweidé Yádi, Aangoon Ḵwáan), Shḵanyadaká Elizabeth McCluskey (Raven, L'eeneidí, Aanx̱’aak Hít, T'eiḵweidi Yádi, Aangoon Ḵwáan), Kaseix Selina Everson (Raven, Deisheetaan, Raven House - Angoon, child of the Kaagwaantaan, grandaughter of the bear clan Teḵweidí, Raven/Beaver) and Shák’ Sháani Éesh Konrad Frank. Recorded May 19, 2013, at Admiralty Suites, Angoon, AK, by Tuli.aan Carolyn Anderson.
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 and English translation by X̱ʼaagi Sháawu Keri Eggleston.
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]
Daa sá Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱ ah,
What in Tlingit uh,
Yaa nx̱askwéin. Yaa nx̱askwéin.
Iʼm learning. Iʼm learning.
Yaa nx̱asakwéin. Yaa nx̱asakwéin.
Iʼm learning. Iʼm learning.
Yakʼéi x̱á.
Itʼs good.
I kaax̱, i kaax̱ ax̱ toowú kligéi, ách áwé yoo x̱ʼax̱waawóosʼ
Iʼm proud of you, thatʼs why I asked.
Gunalchéesh. [whispered]
Thank you.
Thank you.
Yeah you, I going to say this part in English, I hope you'll continue to do it and work at it. So you won't stumble around in your Tlingit language like we are right now. We understand every word.
Kʼidéin x̱ʼatuwa.áx̱ch, Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱ yoo x̱ʼadul.átgi.
We understand well, those who are Tlingit speakers.
It's, itʼs building the sentences, itʼs, it's relating to other people that's really hard when it comes down to it even if you really understand it, and it's really good that youʼre working with these people.
Gunalchéesh i yoo x̱ʼatángi.
Thank you for your words.
One thing, you being an Angoon boy, I'm pround of you and I hope you will continue. I hope other kids will see you
and what you do. He's a youth Rep. for Tlingit and Haida, so heʼll travel.
Probably to DC, too.
X̱ʼayduwóos' i éen.
??? A question for you.
Aangóonxʼ yéi yateeyi ax̱ léelkʼw hás hél Lingít has x̱'éya.áx̱ch. [At shooḵ]
My grandparents in Angoon, they donʼt speak Tlingit. [Laughter] [Maybe referring to todayʼs children of the same clan as her grandparents.]
Has du éex̱ latóow!
Teach them!
Has du éex̱ x̱alatóow.
Iʼm teaching them.
[At shooḵ]
Eesháanxʼ áwé wé ax̱ léelkʼu hás!
My poor little grandparents!
Hú tsú has du yóo x̱ʼatángi has ooshgóok.
Her too, she doesnʼt know their language.
Dleit ḵáax̱ yei aa s nastéen. [At shooḵ]
Theyʼre becoming white people. [Laughter]
Oh, I'm proud of you. I just hope other, other young people will start doing the same thing. I know they're interested in the culture.
Uh, itʼs, after a, a sorrow thereʼs a dinner given for the opposite clan. And my mother, oh!
«Chʼa daa sá has ag̱ashooḵ.»
“Just let them laugh at whatever.”
To put laughter or a smile on their faces, theyʼd get up and talk, try to tell something funny to the people in sorrow, to bring them to smile or to have, to cheer up. I thought that was the beautiful part of our culture.
Because then, even, even the people who are hurting really bad are laughing right along with the other people and. No matter how bad they were feeling.
É! Hawaii yís ḵoowateen.
Wow! We traveled to Hawaii for it.
We went to Hawaii for my brother Harry's party; we brought back pineapples, fresh pineapples.
Hawaiian sháa.
Hawaiian women.
Hawaiian sháax̱ haa wsitee.
We were Hawaiian women.
Not her, though.
[At shooḵ]
Jeff David,
haa sáni,
our paternal uncle
he used to speak in our language, too. Thereʼs something else that, I, tried to bring out the payoff party? Mhmh. I think Dan covered that. [Recording #93] Mhm. And how we, how we address each other. They know that part now,
Like you said,
ax̱ léelkʼu hás tsú s dleit ḵáa x̱ʼéináx̱ has,
my grandparents too, English language they,
"Not me, though."
Ḵáaxka.éesh, everything, "Not me, though."
Ḵáaka.éesh (said about) everything, “Not me, though.”
Chʼa lishoog̱u át tsú.
Just the funny things, too.
They used to, at pay-off party?
Ḵaa eesh hás {yaa s yaa s} yoo s koosgítgi,
When theyʼre having a memorial party for a personʼs parents,
said they would
du yátxʼi chʼu du díx̱ʼ de yánde s gug̱anáaḵ.
his/her children will stand at his/her back.
Mhm. They will stand, they could stand by them to encourage him and help him. It's how our culture is, éh?
Or, du shátxʼi yán,
Or his wives,
Or something like that.
Du x̱ánxʼ yánde s gug̱anáaḵ.
They will stand beside him/her.
They can stand behind him when they're talking up front. When they are talking about if they, thereʼs a loss in the family or something..
How do you say your father-in-law in Tlingit?
I cháan.
Your mother-in-law.
Is that what it is?
Chaan is the mother. I chaan.
Your mother-in-law.
Ax̱ chaan. Mother.
My mother-in-law.
Thatʼs the mother. Yes.
It's the, The wife.
Du wóo.
His/her father-in-law.
Du wóo. Aha.
His/her father-in-law. Yes
see, your (Tlingit language)
it's coming back. Du wóo.
His/her father-in-law
Du wóo.
His/her father-in-law
You can say that Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱
You can say that in Tlingit
Ax̱ wóo, ax̱ wóo áwé.
My father-in-law, thatʼs my father-in-law.
{Du éet x̱wadash du du} Du éet {x̱wa} x̱wadishée.
I helped him.
Party yaa yanasxíxi.
When theyʼre running a party.
Just like what youʼre talking about.
I really work hard with him.
{du ée}
wé atx̱á yánde yaa nasnéin
heʼs preparing the food
ḵa wé
and the
daa sá ḵaa jeedé at gug̱wateeyí
whatever heʼs handing out to people
du een, du een,
with him, with him,
{daa yóo} a daa yéi jitoonéi noojín.
we always used to work on it.
sáa ax̱ jeet aawatée.
he gave me a name.
«Tlákw, tlákw áwé
“Always, always
{haa ax̱ een} ax̱ éen, ax̱ éen,
with me, with me
yéi jinéi nooch.» {yéi yéi}
sheʼs always working.”
How do you say party?
Wé yáa ḵu.éexʼ.
The party.
Yá ḵu.éexʼ.
The party.
daa yéi jix̱aneiyí,
when Iʼm working on it,
tlél chʼa
not just
x̱at ooltínxʼi nooch,
not just watching me,
ax̱ een yéi jinéi nooch.
sheʼs always working with me.
Ách áyá yá saa du jeedé kḵwatée,
Thatʼs why Iʼm going to give her this name,
(Stand. ???)
Káaḵuyatán. There's two names.
«Káaḵuyatán yóo kḵwasáa.»
“Iʼm going to call her Kaaḵuyatán.”
It's off of that reef, that's on this side, that big reef.
He said,
«Yaakw yaa naḵúx̱u
“As the boat goes along
{we} wé té áwé {yei} yei dustínch.» Mhm.
the rock that is seen.”
A káaxʼ,
On it,
«A káaxʼ áwé yaa gaḵúx̱ch {wé} wé yaakw.»
“The boats go along according to it (location of the rock).”
Aax̱ áwé
From there
yá Annie,
Mabelʼs mother, what was her last name? Annie Albert
No, Annie, it wasn't Albert.
Mabels mother?
Annie Paul.
Annie Paul.
«Yá Annie Paul áwé,
“It is this Annie Paul,
wé du hídi aat át la.aayí,
her house stands there,
wé yaakw yaa naḵúx̱ áwé,
when boats go along there,
a káa yandul.átch.
they steer around it.
Ách áwé hú ḵu.aa,
Thatʼs why she though,
Káayawdul.aat yóo gax̱toosáa.
weʼll call her Káayawdul.aat.» [people steer around her]
[At shooḵ]
So that's where we got the, we got those two names,
Káayawdul.aat ḵa Káaḵuyatán.
Káayawdul.aat and Káaḵuyatán.
I remember, Matthew stood up,and said, Matthew Fred, jumped up,
"Aa, my goodness," he said in Tlingit
«Yeedát ḵu.aa áwés
“So now
sʼáaxw áwé {du jee du} du jeeyís gax̱tulayéix̱.»
weʼll make a hat for her.”
{a káa ya a káxʼ gwál áxʼ}
[At shooḵ]
Light houses!
Light House!
Light House Annie. [At shooḵ]
Oh, dear!
[At shooḵ]
Whole place got quiet. They thought he was, he was uh, they thought Matthew was disagreeing with what, what the names they gave us there he made it. He said, "Now we have to build, and have made, and have hats made for them so they could have lights blinking on top of their hat!
I'm gonna tell you about myself once. One time when we first moved here to Angoon. We, we come from here and went to, because for jobs. My family used to, we moved to Sitka from Sitka to Juneau and then we finally came back here after my, my kids. Daniel I think was only about 7 or 8 when we moved back here. There, my father-in-law was having another party and it was, it was a happy party, I remember, because everybody was sitting
Ldakát áwé ḵoowa.éexʼ.
Everyone was invited.
Ldakát Aangóon.
All of Angoon.
Kát ḵin ḵu.oo áwé aawa.éexʼ.
??? were invited.
Kéi uwa.íxʼ.
It cried out. [Making a joke about the phone ringing; «uwa.íx» 'cried outʼ, sounds similar to «aawa.éexʼ» 'invite' ].
We walked into the hall and, and uh, lot of people were sitting there.
Át aḵéen de.
People were sitting there already.
We had
Yaa haa shunagút áwé,
Sheʼs leading us,
wé shaawát,
that woman,
yaa ntoo.át.
weʼre walking along.
I {r}
Ásíwé wé shaaxʼw át ḵin
women were sitting there
I wasn't paying any attention to the men, just walking, following that uh,
L a daat x̱at tooshtí.
I wasnʼt thinking about it.
Tlél a daat x̱at tooshn,
I wasnʼt thinking,
waanée sáwé,
at that point,
ax̱ éet x̱ʼeiwatán.
she spoke to me.
«Haaw, wáa sás iyatee?»
“Well, how are you?”
yóo x̱at x̱ʼeiwawóosʼ.
she asked me.
And I
Sh daa yax̱wdlig̱én.
I looked around.
Who is she talking to, me?
Yeah, haaw!
Yeah, well!
I was so shocked! I was looking at her as if,
«Wáa sás iyatee?»
she said it again. I said, "We're good!"
[At shooḵ]
Two Caucasian women, blonds.
She was so flabbergasted. I was so,
I never, I wasn't expecting anything like that, you see, we just came back from Angoon. Those ladies were here learning the Tlingit language from all the elderly people for I don't know, Oh, what was their names?
how many years. Constance Naish and Gillian Storey, Yes! Yeah! Yeah,
"We're good!"
[At shooḵ]
Believe me, I never felt, I looked at Dan and
when we sat down I said, "God, I never felt
so dumb in all my life!"
[At shooḵ]
Oh, they could speak, they knew. They knew, they knew the words!
They, if they could speak, you could speak!
They could! Yeah, I can speak it, Itʼs
It's just hard coming back. Itʼs just talking into the big eye there.
Wéi jaḵdáana. Wéi waḵdáana. Hél yéi ḵudzitee.
The ???. The lens. It isnʼt alive. ???
Wei jaḵdáana, waaḵ x̱'
It's a funny thing though because you know, every time we have parties there's always cameras all over the place, huh? Thereʼs cameras all over the place.
We should be used to it by now, really.
Hmm, Waasá wé iyati?
Whatʼs with you?
We dance in front of it.
Oh, talk about when my sister Helen and you were dancing behind the blanket and Lily George. Those girls learned to dance like that. Who said that to her? They watched TV!
[At shooḵ]
Lily had a sense of humor! Cyril George's mother.
lot of funny things again, happen in the Tlingit, Social used to go on in the hall, ANB Hall. Yeah. Social nights. They used to pick on Elsie. Make a big circle and somebody's gotta be the Kitty. Elsie, you have to pet the kitty it comes to meow. Sheʼd, "Poor pussy, poor pussy! "
Before she can even get the third one she would laugh. Then she would have to become the kitty. Meow. Poor pussy!
When I was growing, when I was growing up, I can remember only this lady. I was a little girl.
{whenev} Skóolldáx̱ neilt has ḵoowateen yéi áwé,
They went from school to home,
her and June and uh,
Helen, Marie.
I barely remember Marie, I only remember Harriet and
uh, Marge.
They were strong in the ANB and the ANS, that I can remember.
And one thing I can remember,
tléix' yateeyi át áwé ḵúnáx̱ yeedát, up to today I
One thing really now,
X̱wasikóo. A kát x̱at tuwatee.
I know. I feel like doing that.
A kát x̱at tuwatee tlákw.
I always feel like doing that.
The song, the song they used to sing. Can you remember 'Dear Old Angoon'?
Wa.éich kei gashí.
You sing it.
Dear old Angoon, that was pretty
really neat. It was so pretty.
I was, golly!
We love it more and more every year.
Old Angoon, dear old Angoon, weʼll love you all the years, through the years.
Through the years. All of us.
Pretty, they sounded like Hawaiian girls.
[At shooḵ]
We used to love to harmonize.
To hear the Russian Orthodox choirs.
And thereʼs Garfieldʼs dad, had that big star, or was it Peter Tom?
Peter Tom, yeah. I donʼt remember who died one time. It was one of the big shots when I was a little girl, that was. You know if you ev, if ever you thought you, you knew the Tlingit language fluently, thereʼs some words when it comes to a big burial like that.
The old words
You need a dictionary to, practically need a dictionary to try to understand what theyʼre talking about it, it runs that deep. I was surprised when my, my husband. Even my husband said, he said, "Oh! Wow!" he said. "They lost me!" And he understands Tl, he understood Tlingit. He was so amazed that they were, heads from different communities. They all stood up. They were talking to one another.
Lingít x̱ʼéináx̱ wóoshteen yoo has x̱ʼali.átk.
They always speak Tlingit together.
It was, it was, oooh.
Really awesome. And, my husband was so taken aback, "Iʼve got to get with them. Iʼve got to meet with them," he kept saying. He said he was surprised that they, he couldnʼt understand what they were talking about. I said, "Why? What do you mean? Why, what were they saying?" He said, "We need a dictionary." So thatʼs how deep it could get. I mean if itʼs, if we could find the right person.
I was talking about something that, when she started, in Tlingit, it was so, if she could say it again. Haw, we donʼt,
Yee x̱ʼéit áwé x̱wsi.áx̱.
Iʼm listening to you two.
Ax̱ ḵu.aa áwé,
I however,
i x̱ʼéit ḵusa.aax̱ yéi haat ḵux̱waatín.
I traveled here so people could hear what you have to say.
Should we, what did you and I talk about?
Yoo, woosh yáa woodané.
You need to speak up.
We talked about that yesterday.
I think we need to start a Tlingit culture class here.
Donʼt look at me!
Iʼm looking at him. We need a teacher.
Youʼre supposed to be teaching him.
Too much!
What kind of Grandma!
Oh, Iʼm so proud. I was just telling him how proud I am of him.
I mean I wish, I hope that other young people will start following in his foot steps,in his foot prints.
In his foot prints.
His footprints.
I was telling him Iʼm glad heʼs learning. He can tell people back in Juneau that heʼs got grammas that donʼt speak Tlingit.
They speak Tlingilenglish!
He has to come back and teach us.
Thatʼs no kidding though. This, I mean, weʼre not pulling your leg or anything, itʼs the truth. Even the real old-timers, uh? That all passed on, English speaking! I used to tell them,
Lingít x̱ʼeinax̱ has du een yoo x̱ʼa ??? aa wé at yatkʼi.
Tlingit language with them ??? the children.
"Talk to them in Tlingit," I used to tell them. The first few words would be in Tlingit and before you know it theyʼre speaking in English again and uh. So it just.
«Yee léekʼw yoo x̱ʼatángi, ákwé?»
Thatʼs your grandfathersʼ language, right?
"Is that your grandfathersʼ language?"
So, we need, I mean, this is a wake up call, really. We need to do something. We need.
My son came home yesterday and said; he knew I was in a class yesterday and he came home and said uh, in Tlingit Iʼll tell it. He said uh,
Oh, I better just better tell it in English. He donʼt, he understands Tlingit but he donʼt speak it. He said somebody told him, he said, "If somebody speak to you in Tlingit, and you understand what theyʼre saying, but you donʼt know how to speak it, all you can say is, «Aaá, aaá.»
“Yes, yes.”
He says, "Yes or no."
He, he made me laugh.
Our language itʼs, itʼs a, people always say itʼs a beautiful language.
But uh, we, we really lost most of it. Itʼs, but a lot of people always say itʼs, thereʼs something about our language, I donʼt know, because you, you can laugh when they talk. And itʼs just, some of the words just always seem to sound funny and for some reason and then all of the people start laughing. And they, our people used to like to laugh all the time but,
at shóoḵ.
Yéi x̱waajée. S tuwáa sigoowun.
I think so. Theyʼre happy.
Toowú kʼé.
they used to say, «Yee toowú klatseen!»
“You all be strong!” (mentally)
"Be strong!"
And, thereʼs a lot of other words but I canʼt even think. Um, but they, a lot of people compliment on our language. Itʼs a, but I always be amazed when those that learn it.
Celebration káxʼ wé yées ḵáaxʼw dákde s na.áat nuch haa yoo x̱ʼatángi een.
At Celebration the young people always come out with our language.
And they speak it real good. They, I always be amazed at it. Even the little kids. Even that little boy that
{ash} at shí {a kák}
{kaw} akawlishee du kéekʼ jeeyís.
he sang a song he composed for his little brother.
{du} Du kéekʼ daatx̱ at wooshee.
He sang about his little brother.
That was sure something. That little boy up, uh, uh, made up a song for his brother. Made a song for his brother.
That was Celebration 2013. 2012.
And he sang it at Celebration.
It was really something. Itʼs really touching to, to for people. They always say,
«Dikée Aanḵáawuch aan haa wliyéx̱
“God made us
haa ḵusteeyí.
our way of life.
Dikée Aanḵáawuch áwé
It was God that
haa wliyéx̱ haa yoo x̱ʼatángi teen.»
made us with our language.”
Ḵa yáa aadé,
And the way,
yei áwé that our regalias and stuff. And so it, itʼs really interesting some of the stories from way back; itʼs, itʼs almost like Bible stories. Lot of stories. It almost match up with uh, the Bible. And I always be amazed when I come across it or read it.
Just like that Yéil yá {aan} aan
Just like that Raven, this land
he flew
all over to sit.
The, the Raven.
the moon
du léelkʼuch jeedáx̱ dís awdzig̱áax̱.
He cried for the moon that his grandfather had.
the sun
ḵa ḵutx̱.ayanahá
and stars
what is it
ḵa héen
and water
They said dleit yáx̱ téeyin Yéil.
They said Raven used to be white.
Said du tayeet kukawduwa.ák.
Said they built a fire under him.
Wé héen aawata ax̱táawu ???
He stole water ???
he took a lot of water and
Tle aan wudiḵeen yá aan tóonáx̱.
Then he flew through the land.
He said the, a káanáx̱ kadutlʼóoḵ áwé.
He said it dripped throughout (the land).
Made lakes.
Aakʼw kʼisáani.
Little lakes.
And reverse. And, itʼs, I always remember that story. Thereʼs other stories that I remember. Interesting. It, it, some of the stories that were told but, I know that they believed in God.
Dikée Aanḵáawu ákʼ has aawahéen.
They believed in God.
Ách áwé has ayaawadlaaḵ
Thatʼs why they succeeded
chʼu yeedát yeisú ḵutudzitee.
so weʼre still alive.
Praise God.
Amen! Yeah.
[recording break] kḵwalayéix̱.
Iʼll do it.
You guys sing it.
{wa.é áwé} Wa.é áwé kawduwaḵaa.
It was you they sent for.
Ḵaa eesg̱eiwúx̱ ikḵwalayéix̱.
I will make you fishers of men.
Ḵaa eesg̱eiwúx̱ ikḵwalayéix̱.
I will make you fishers of men.
I will make you,
I will make you,
Ḵaa eesg̱eiwúx̱ ikḵwalayéix̱.
I will make you fishers of men.
Ax̱ ítx̱ yaa g̱agú.
Follow me.
Ax̱ ítx̱ yaa g̱agú.
Follow me.
Ax̱ ítx̱ yaa g̱agú.
Follow me.
Ḵaa eesg̱eiwúx̱ ikḵwalayéix̱.
I will make you fishers of men.
Ax̱ ítx̱ yaa g̱agú.
Follow me.
Salvation Army.
This other one is uh,
We sing it in church; you sing a little differently.
At congress time itʼs, those ladies from Metlakatla sang it and they made it into motions when they sang. Itʼs
Héen yík yaax̱ gug̱wadáa.
The river will flow.
Séew yaax̱ daak gux̱satáan.
The rain will fall.
Kéi yaax̱ yei kg̱waxéex.
The sun will rise.
Du kasheexʼ yá tlʼátgi káaxʼ.
They praise him on this land.
Haa Aan Ḵáawu gax̱duskóo
People will know our God
yá lingítʼaani káxʼ
on this Earth
du yakg̱wahéihg̱u haa xwaa yéi kg̱watée.
His spirit our ??? will be.
Praise God.
God is good. Amen.