PHILLIPS, W.S.




Author Tags: Anthropology, First Nations, Illustration, Kidlit & Young Adult

Walter Shelley 'Chinook' Phillips, who preferred to be called El Commancho, included his preferred nickname in the long-winded title of his 118-page study of the Chinook trading language The Chinook Book: A Descriptive Analysis Of The Chinook Jargon In Plain Words, Giving Instructions For Pronunciation, Construction, Expression And Proper Speaking Of Chinook With All The Various Shaded Meanings Of The Words By El Commancho (1913). He was somewhat less eccentric with the title of his 326-page collection of stories from Pacific Northwest tribes (that included the Haida, Kwakiutl and Nootka), Totem Tales: Indian Stories Indian Told, Gathered In The Pacific Northwest, With A Glossary Of Words, Customs And History Of The Indians, Fully Illustrated By The Author (1896).

The accumulation of information about the Chinook trading language by the likes of Phillips is worthy of a book unto itself. Published from Seattle, Phillips’ ‘analysis’ of the so-called jargon was built upon the works of John Rodgers Jewitt (1807), Gabriel Franchère (1810), John Dunn (1844), Francis Norbert Blanchet (1852), Alexander Caulfield Anderson (1858), William Carew Hazlitt (1858), Theodore Winthrop (1862), George Gibbs (1863), Duncan George Forbes Macdonald (1863), Granville Stuart (1865), Christopher Knipe (1868), James Constantine Pilling (1868), Modeste Demers (1871), Myron Eells (1878), George Gibbs (1863), William F. Sturgis (1864), Thomas N. Hibben (1871), Louis Napoleon St. Onge (1871), M. Stannard (1873), John Kaye Gill (1878), John Booth Good (1880), Paul Durieu (1886), Jean-Marie Raphael Le Jeune (1886), Thomas Wickham Prosch (1888), Charles Montgomery Tate (1889), Horatio Hale (1890), James Constantine Pilling (1893), Alexander Alfred Boddy (1896), Alexander Ross (1904), Joel Palmer (1906), Frederick J. Long (1909) and George C. Shaw (1909), and various uncredited sources and glossaries. [See Terry Glavin entry]

Republished in January of 2005 by Kessinger Publishing as a paperback, Phillips children's book Indian Tales for Little Folks (New York: Platt & Nourse, 1914; New York: The Platt & Munk Co. Inc., 1928) is illustrated by the author with hundreds of "Indian drawings" with explanatory notes. He wrote in his introductions, "I have spent nearly fifty years west of the Missouri River in close touch with Indians. I have camped and traveled with them, learned their point of view and lived as the Indian lives. I know their daily life and religion and have listened to the folk stories of many tribes. Many Indian stories are not printable, from a whit." The 10 stories are How the Buffalo & the Grizzly Bear Went to War; Why the Catfish has a Flat Head; How the Buzzard Got his Black Coat; The Quarrel Between the Beaver and the Porcupine; How the Fire Got Into the Rocks and Trees; Why the Wood Duck has Red Eyes; How Napi Made the Animals; Why the Bluebird is Blue and the Coyote is Gray; Where the Yellowjackets Came From; and The Story of the Little Rabbit and the Lynx.


BOOKS:

Phillips, W.S. Totem Tales: Indian Stories Indian Told, Gathered In The Pacific Northwest, With A Glossary Of Words, Customs And History Of The Indians, Fully Illustrated By The Author (Chicago: Star Publishing Co., 1896).

Phillips, W.S. The Chinook Book: A Descriptive Analysis Of The Chinook Jargon In Plain Words, Giving Instructions For Pronunciation, Construction, Expression And Proper Speaking Of Chinook With All The Various Shaded Meanings Of The Words By El Commancho (Seattle & Tacoma: R.L. Davis Printing Co., 1913).

Phillips, W.S. Indian Tales for Little Folks (New York: Platt & Nourse, 1914; New York: The Platt & Munk Co. Inc., 1928; Kessinger, 2005).

[BCBW 2005] "Chinook" "Anthropology" "First Nations" "Illustration" "Kidlit"