I hear this word quite a bit on one Canadian fellow’s Youtube channel, but he curses liberally so I want to be sure it’s not an offensive term.
In fact, I find myself often wanting to describe something as skookum. My wife brought home a pretty substantial artist’s easel made of heavy duty maple, and my first thought was to say “Wow, that’s a pretty skookum easel”
So, in short, can I say Skookum around Canadians and not offend anyone?
No, it is linguistic assimilation. A process by which languages have always grown and will continue to do so.
And when you start by claiming it is appropriative and then back-pedal to, “it can be - dependentin part on context” makes your implied functional definition of appropriation so hazy as to be utterly meaningless.
How about this, the use of the word is indicative of the influence of native culture in BC and shows a degree of respect.
Skookum merely means strong, big, reliable, genuine in Chinook jargon. E.g., a skookum current is a strong current.
Very family friendly unless you are combining it with other words which create an off color meaning.
Chinook jargon was used by all types of people on the N Pacific Coast: natives, fur traders, fishermen, lumberjacks, and all sorts of imported workers from around the world. It imported words from a variety of language including French and Spanish. While this word had Native American origins, it was far from an exclusively Native language.
BTW: While it was used as far north as coastal southern BC, it was mainly a coastal US PNW jargon.
Died out mostly during WWII due to the large number of people moving to the NW for defense jobs.
There is even a Skookumchuck in the east Kootenays. Skookum is a great word, you hear it in Alberta but usually only from BC influence. Never knew about the Chinook Jargon, very interesting; had assumed it was from the Kootenai language.
Ave is pretty interesting, not surprised there are some doper fans. I grew up with one friend and have worked with a few people that spoke in a similar manor. Interior BC working english.
Extreme northwest corner of Washington state reporting in. I hear ‘skookum’ occasionally up here. It mostly seems to be used by people who grew up in the area, though I’ve used it once or twice when a synonym failed to come to mind.