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.

Next year’s Conference is scheduled to take place March 6-7-8, 2024 at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino located in Airway Heights, WA.

The “2024 Call for Presenters” will be sent out sometime around December of this this.  If you do not receive one, I will include one here in the conference materials section when it is open.

Conference Registration

The 2024 Celebrating Salish Conference organizers have partnered up w/ Eventbrite to handle all conference registrations. This year, all registrations will need a credit card to register. Every year, we get a little bigger and the tracking of payments and people just gets a little tougher.

There will be some additional fees added to the registration process. We apologize for this, but this little extra cost will help us manage the registration process more efficiently and make your experience a little more enjoyable.

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

Registration rates: (registration paid/received on/or before Feb 28)
$200 for adults, $150 for elders and youth (18 and younger)


Late/On-site registration: (received March 1)
$250 for adults, $200 for elders and youth (18 and younger)

To register for the conference, please click on the “Register Now” button below. You will need a credit card to complete the registration process.

2024 Conference Materials

Here you will find all of the Celebrating Salish Conference information. Please check out all of the information below.  At this time, I have the registration information and the “Call for Presenters” available for you to look over. All registration is being made through Eventbrite so please register by pressing the register here button listed above.  So….Lets get registered and get ready for another awesome conference.

Here are some of the documents….more to come!

2024 Celebrating Salish Conference (Call for Presenters)

2024 Presenter Application (Fill this out and email to jrbluff@kalispeltribe.com)

2024 Salish Conference Registration Flyer


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

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, Adele, John Fogerty, AC/DC, Elvis, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, James Brown, Guns and Roses, Tammy Wynette, Tom Petty, Sonny and Cher, Metallica, Michael Jackson, and many 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 below.

Adult Karaoke will pay four places: $300-$200-$100-$50
Youth Karaoke will pay four places: $300-$200-$100-$50

So…..Lets find your song, find your karaoke music, and get your registration form sent to SSOS.  All contestants must check in with the contest organizers by 4:00 pm on Wednesday, March 6, and confirm the validity of their digital music file, or their contest entry may be revoked.

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


2024 Salish Karaoke Entry Form (revised)

2024 Salish Karaoke (YOUTH) Entry Form (revised)

For more information on Karaoke please contact:

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 6th 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 7.  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 Leaders (Memorial Processional & Candlelight Vigil)

It’s been a long two years since we were able to come together and share one another’s company and hearts.  The pandemic has taken a toll on our people and we have all experienced great losses over the last two years.  Our communities sent prayers, good feelings and love to all that were struggling to get through these tough times but often were not able to see and support each other in person as we would have prior to Covid-19.  This year the Salish Conference Organizers have decided in lieu of “Honoring our Language Hero’s” we will do a “Memorial Processional” for all of our hero’s, teachers and language leaders who passed-on during these past two years.

This Processional is intended to allow us to honor and remember all those who have “travelled on” and to let them know we are still here, doing our best.  So, if you have a loved one, an Elder, a Teacher a Language Hero who has passed-on, we would like to invite you to our Processional.  Please bring a memento/picture of your loved one to carry during the Processional and candlelight vigil (candles will be provided). If you would like to wear traditional clothing during the processional, please do so.

The Processional will take place at 6:00pm on Thursday, March 7, during the 2024 Celebrating Salish Conference.

If you have any questions regarding the Processional, please contact Shelly Boyd at:


509-936-1824 (cell).