Our traditions and our language are what make the Kalispel people who we are today. The language ties us to the land, our relations, and our past.  

At the beginning of the millennium, with only a handful of Tribal elders who could speak fluent Salish, we were in danger of losing our native language.  In response, we have developed the Kalispel Language Program in an effort to reclaim and preserve our Salish Language, as well as create a new generation of native language speakers.  Over the last several years, we have continued to strengthen and expand the program, and we are beginning to see our efforts pay off.  Before, Salish was only spoken at cultural events, such as funerals, wakes, memorials, and gatherings, and it was only spoken by our elders.  Now, you can hear it everywhere throughout the community.  Through our Language efforts, a new generation of Salish speakers has given life to a part of our culture that was once in danger of extinction. We are doing our best to speak our language and teach.

We have created a 6-level language acquisition path that is designed to take a person form "no-salish" to "pretty darn good" in 18 months. We have also developed many learning tools to supplement the classroom instruction. Please visit the curriculum page and the language software page to check them out.

To learn more about our language revitalization efforts, watch the short video below.

Northwest Profiles: Saving Salish - Language Revival

Our Staff

Name Title Email Phone
JR Bluff Language Director jrbluff@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7294
Jessie Isadore Language Coordinator jisadore@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7286
Stan Bluff Salish Language Advisor sbluff@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7203
Johnny Arlee Salish Language Advisor jarlee@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7280
Vickie Leach Language Teacher vleach@kalispeltribe.com
Yolanda Bowman Language Teacher ybowman@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7450
Christina Butler Language Teacher cbutler@kalispeltribe.com
Nalene Andrews Language Teacher nandrews@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7121
David Bluff Language Preservation Specialist dbluff@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7445
Barry Moses Curriculum Developer bmoses@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7134
Todd Ellingburg KLSS Lead Teacher tellingburg@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7461
Dakota Littlecrow KLSS Associate Teacher dlittlecrow@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7463
David Nenema KLSS Associate Teacher dnenema@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7460