Celebrating Salish

We host the annual Celebrating Salish Conference, which brings together speakers and learners of all Interior Salish languages in the Inland Northwest:  Kalispel, Spokane, Colville-Okanagan, Coeur d’Alene, Wenatchee-Columbian, and Montana Salish.

Our goals for this conference are to promote new speakers of our native language, collaborate with our neighboring tribal communities, and build ongoing relationships with one another.  The Celebrating Salish Conference is the largest language gathering of native speakers in the entire northwest.

Every Spring, we come together to share all the good things that are happening in our communities and to get re-energized about our language efforts. Every year we continue to grow. Our first gathering had about 100 participants and now we are up to 500+ attendees from all over the NW. We are very grateful for all of our visitors and friends that come to help us make this an awesome gathering.

We are planning on having the conference next Spring.  It is scheduled to take place March 8-9-10, 2023 at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino located in Airway Heights, WA.

I am hoping to have the 2023 “Call for Presenters” sent out by the end of November.

Register Now

Conference Registration

The Conference organizers have again partnered w/ Eventbrite to handle all conference registrations. However, there will be some additional fees added to the registration process. We apologize for this, but this little extra cost helps us manage the registration process more efficiently and make your experience a little more enjoyable.  Next years registration is not quite ready but keep checking in, I hope to have this up and running by the end of November.

If you have any questions regarding the registration process, please contact Kimberly Swennumson at kswennumson@kalispeltribe.com or at her desk (509) 447-7424.

Register Now

2023 Conference Materials


Here you will find all of the Celebrating Salish Conference information. Please check out all of the information below.  Lets get registered and get ready for another awesome conference.

See you guys there! JR

Youth Track Leadership Workshop

The Native Youth Leadership Workshop is a program for Native youth ages 12-17.  The Workshop is an opportunity for youth to understand the importance of language revitalization through leadership development.  Youth will be inspired and motivated by youth keynote speakers from our Native communities.  Youth will connect with positive healthy youth and adults who will encourage and support them through their personal development.  Workshops will include a variety of activities including:  ice breakers, team building, Salish Language activities, and cultural exchange.

The Youth Track Organizers would like to request that you provide Chaperones for any youth that may be too young or may need any special assistance. Any questions please contact Vance or Chaney.

Vance Homegun
406-240-3986  cell
Chaney Bell
406-212-9835  cell   406-745-4572  work

Adult-Youth Karaoke Contest

One of the biggest draws for our conference is our Annual Salish Karaoke Contest. Many of the stars from our childhood make it here to shine on the big stage. Past contestants included Hank Williams, Queen, AC/DC, Willie Nelson, James Brown, Guns and Roses, Tammy Wynette, Tom Petty, Metallica, Michael Jackson, and many others. Salish Karaoke is held on the first night of the conference (Wednesday) and parking is a little tough because of all of the Limousines lined up outside of our venue (haha). If you haven’t seen this show before, you need to.

The Karaoke rules and guidelines are listed above in the Conference Materials section. The registration for the Adult Karaoke is $20 (before 3/1) and $30 (after 3/1). There is no registration fee for the Youth Karaoke Contest.

So…If you plan on attending the conference and have the desire to sing your favorite song (in Salish) we want you!  Just Do It!

For more Information please contact Chris Parkin at chris@salishschoolofspokane.org or 509-325-2018 (school) or 509-981-7276 (cell). The Adult and Youth Salish Karaoke Forms are included above in the conference material section.

Chris Parkin
509-325-2018 (school)
509-981-7276 (cell)

Salish Talent Show

All participants are encouraged to bring an original song, performance, act, talent, or whatever they sing in the shower to perform in the 5th Annual Salish Talent Show to be held at this year’s Celebrating Salish Conference.

There will be signups at the conference and everyone is asked to register before 5pm on Thursday March 9.  Participants will be asked to limit their performance to 5 minutes so we can make sure we all get a chance to shine!  Drum Songs with Salish/Kootenai lyrics, classroom songs, comedy routines, and staged performances, are just some of the things that would work. All we ask is that all performances must be in Salish/Kootenai (no English please).

This is not a competition, but a time to showcase our language and to show everyone that our language is alive and well.  Youth, adults, and Elders are all encouraged to come and showcase the successful revitalization efforts happening in your area.  We expect to see all generations and all Tribes represented. Good luck and let’s get those ideas a-rolling!

For more information on the Talent Show please contact: JR Bluff @ 509-447-7294 or jrbluff@kalispeltribe.com.

JR Bluff

Honoring Our Language Heroes

The sponsors of the 2023 Celebrating Salish Conference are accepting nominations from community members who would like to recognize the Elders and Teachers in their communities who have worked to ensure the survival of our Salish languages. Only through the dedication of our Elders and Teachers have our languages survived to the present day. We need to recognize and thank all those, past and present, who have worked to sustain our Salish languages so that they can be passed on to our future generations.

On Thursday, March 9, 2023 at the 2023 Celebrating Salish Conference, we will recognize the nominated “Language Heroes” and ask them and their nominator to join a Procession of Heroes. If your hero has already passed away, we will ask you to submit a photo that can be printed and carried in the Procession of Heroes.

In order to nominate your “Language Hero”, please fill out the “Honoring Our Heroes” Language Award nomination form and mail or email it before February 14, 2023. Nominators may submit only one form and nominate only one Hero. Language Heroes who were honored the previous years are not eligible for nomination in 2023. If you do not plan to register for the Celebrating Salish Conference, you may still nominate a hero and plan on attending just the Procession of Heroes at 6:00pm on March 9, 2023 at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino in the Pend Oreille Pavilion. The nomination form is included above in the conference material section.

If you would like to nominate a “Language Hero” in your community please contact Shelly Boyd at shellyboyd@comcast.net or call 509-722-3907 or 509-936-1824.

Shelly Boyd