Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 05:19:59 EST From: Bapopik Subject: Canuck (part two) >From UNKIND WORDS: ETHNIC LABELING FROM REDSKIN TO WASP, Irving Lewis Allen (Bergin & Garvey, 1990). Pg. 59: The name _canuck_ was not traditionally considered derogatory by either Francophones or Anglophones in Canada, though it may have later become so in the knowledge of how the term was used in the United States. Note the name of the Vancouver Canucks, a famous hockey team. In popular culture, the name also become a symbol of Canada, in the personification of Johnny Canuck, much like John Bull for England and Uncle Sam for the United States. One no less than Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1977 said he had never heard the name used pejoratively in Canada. But Quebeckers in the United States consider _canuck_ highly offensive, about the worst name they can be called. Anglophone Canadians and Americans around the border of the New England states and Quebec probably applied the name _canuck_ to the lower- status, French-speaking Acadians. The name, while not necessarily offensive in Canada, was nonetheless offensive to Francophone immigrants who felt marginal in New England. In the 1972 Presidential primaries, a rumor was circulated that Maine's Senator Edmund Muskie, who is of Polish background, had referred to U. S. Quebeckers as "canucks"--and that is a fighting word in Maine. The dirty trick brought Muskie temporary embarrassment and required strong denials. pp. 61-62: The name, in its early history, might have been borrowed from the speech of an early Canadian minority as an informal name for that group. Later it somehow emerged as a national symbol of all Candians, and yet later, in its unfavorable sense, settled upon Francophone Canadians in the United States. W. W. Schuhmacher's hypothesis (1989) ("Once More Canuck," AMERICAN SPEECH, vol. 64, pg. 149--ed.) that _canuck_ derives from a blend of the _can_ of _Canadian_ and the _nuk_ of the Inuit or Eskimo word _inuk_ for "man" or "Eskimo," would support such a word history. Mitford Mathews (1975), on the other hand, argued that _canuck_ derives from _kanacka_, Hawaiian for "man," which was borrowed from and used for indentured Sandwich Islanders who served as canoemen in colonial Canada. The spelling of the first syllables of _Canadian_ and _canuck_ at any rate accounts for the popular etymology that _canuck_ came from _canada_ and _Canadian_. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- >From WICKED WORDS, Hugh Rawson (Crown, 1989). pg. 72: _Canuck_. A Canadian, specifically, a French Canadian. Despite the presence of the Vancouver Canucks team in the National Hockey League, the term usually is considered derogatory, especially when used by a non-Canadian. "...we don't have blacks but we have Cannocks (sic)" (letter to William Loeb, publisher, Manchester, New Hampshire, _Union Leader_, 2/24/72). This particular insult is of some historical importance, since it affected the course of American politics. The letter to Loeb attributed the comment to an aide to Senator Edmund Muskie (Democrat, Maine), then the front-runner in the contest for his party's presidential nomination. The aide supposedly made the remark at a meeting in Florida, and Muskie supposedly condoned it, telling the audience to "Come to New England and see." With two weeks to go before the New Hampshire primary, in which thousands of quondam French Canadians were eligible to vote, Loeb published the letter, together with a front-page editorial, headlined "Senator Muskie Insults Franco-Americans." Muskie lost his composure when responding to this assault and to a derogatory report about his wife that also appeared in the _Union Leader_, and his campaign proceeded to fall apart. The missive, which soon became known as "The Canuck Letter," was arguably the most successful of the dirty tricks that were perpetrated on behalf of President Richard M. Nixon during the '72 campaign. Ken W. Clawson, White House deputy director of communications, later boasted privated--and denied publicly--that he had written the spurious letter. (...) The origin of _Canuck_ is curiously uncertain. On the face of it, the word would appear to derive from the first syllable of Canada, Other guesses have been made, however, e.g., that it comes from _Johnny Canuck_, a cartoon character of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, similar to John Bull and Uncle Sam; that it comes from _Connaught_, originally used by French Canadians to refer to Irish immigrants; and that it is a variant of the Hawaiian _kanaka_, man, brought by whalers back to New England, who residents then applied the term to their neighbors to the North. The last theory, as farfetched as it might seem, is reinforced by the earliest known spelling of the word: _Kanuk_ (OED, 1835). Walt Whitman was edging closer to the modern spelling when he wrote--referring to all Canadians, not just those of French extraction--in _Leaves of Grass_ (1855): Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- >From THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS STORY, Dennis Boyd (McGraw-Hill, 1973). pg. 35: Following a lavish cocktail reception at the bayshore Inn, Walters was quoted as questioning the propriety of the word "canucks." He mused, "I'm not completely sold on the team name. The word Canucks strikes me as a slang expression that I don't particularly like. If there are no serious objections from the fans, we are going to consider a change." Well, Walters might just as well have suggested adding a couple of stars to the Canadian flag. Reaction in Vancouver was scorchingly indignant, Tides rose three feet in English Bay, the Fraser Street Bridge jammed in shock and the Canucks' switchboard was assaulted with calls from Canada-Firsters. Scallen threw in the towel on that one, saying that he and Walters had been advised that the name derived from the legendary figure of Johnny Canuck "the Canadian fighting man." We intend to have a fighting hockey team so we're happy to let the name stand." Score one for the Canucks' public relations department. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- >From SHANTIES FROM THE SEVEN SEAS, Stan Hugill (1961; Mystic Seaport Museum, 1994). pp. 211-212: A very fine halyard shanty closely related to _Mobile Bay_ is _John Kanaka_. This is the first time it has been in print. I learnt it from that wonderful shantyman, Harding of Barbadoes. He sang it with many falsetto yelps and hitches almost impossible to imitate. The chorus is of Polynesian origin and I should say the words "tulai e" were Samoan. It has the not so common form of three solos and three refrains. Dana in his _Two Years Before the Mast_ refers to the signing of work- songs by the Kanaka (Hawaiian) crews of ships loading hides on the Californian coast. In particular he mentions the singing-out of a certain Hawaiian called Mahana (page 120). It seems feasible that these Kanaka songs would be adapted for use by the white seamen, who would give them white men's solos nad keep the Polynesian refrains. If this did occur, then, unfortunately, they have all been lost--unless our _John Kanaka_ is the one survivor. JOHN KANAKA I heard, I heard the Old Man say, John Kana kanaka tu lai e! Today, today is a holiday, John Kana kanaka tu lai e! Tu lai e, ooh! Tu lai e John Kana kanaka tu lai e! We'll work termorrer, but no work terday, _Chorus_ _John_ Kanaka-naka, _tu_lai-e! We'll work termorrer, but no work terday, _Chorus_ _John_ Kanaka-naka, _tu_lai-e! Tulai e! ooh! tulai-e! _Chorus_ _John_ Kanaka-naka, _tu_lai-e! We're bound away for 'Frisco Bay, We're bound away at the break o' day, Tulai e, _etc._ We're bound away around Cape Horn, We wisht ter Christ we'd niver bin born. Oh, haul, oh haul, oh haul away, Oh, haul away an' make yer pay. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------- >From THE DICTIONARY OF AMERICANISMS, John Bartlett (1848). KINNIKINNICK. An Indian word for a composition of dried leaves and bark prepared for smoking, used in the Western States in place of tobacco. A little tobacco is sometimes mixed with it to give it a flavor. (Appendix) CONIACKER. A counterfeiter of coin.