Our Language

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.

Our Language

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 every day.

Throughout this path, we have made many friends and partners to help us along the way. With the help from Chris Parkin and the Salish School of Spokane, we have created a 3-level language acquisition path that is designed to take a person from “no-salish” to “pretty darn good” in 18 months. We are currently working on a new “Level 4” as we speak.  We  also have a few language Apps available to supplement classroom instruction. Please visit your APPstore or PLAYstore to check them out. 

Northwest Profiles: Saving Salish – Language Revival

Our Language Staff

JR Bluff

Language Director

(509) 447-7294

Jessie Isadore

Asst. Director

(509) 447-7286

Stan Bluff

Salish Language Advisor

(509) 447-7203

Johnny Arlee

Salish Language Advisor

(509) 447-7280

Vickie Leach

K-1 Immersion School Teacher

(509) 447-7475

Mia Scott

Immersion School Teacher

(509) 447-7286

Todd Ellingburg

Immersion School Administrator/Teacher

(509) 447-7461

Alisha Athos

K-1 Immersion School Teacher

(509) 447-7445

Paul Renaud

JH/HS Immersion School Teacher

(509) 447-7121

Dave Browneagle

JH/HS Immersion Language Teacher

(509) 447-7487

Jamie Samuels

JH/HS Immersion School Teacher

(509) 447-7462

Melinda McCormick

Curriculum Expert

(509) 447-7134

Dakota Littlecrow

Immersion School Teacher