July 09, 2009

First Salish graduating class

Nkwusm works to preserve Salish language

By Mark RatledgeNkwusm, a Salish Language immersion school on the Salish-Kootenai Reservation in Arlee, Mont. had its first graduation June 12.

Three boys and one girl, all 14 years old finished their language immersion program and next year will move into the public school system.

Located in an old bowling alley built in the late 1970s, the school has renovated the building into classrooms, and a capital campaign is in progress to raise funds for a new building. Inside, the classrooms look like any other school, except for the Salish alphabet on the walls and artwork depicting Salish cultural activities, and the sounds of children talking and singing in Salish. The school itself is operated by the Nkwusm Salish Language Revitalization Institute, a nonprofit formed in 2003 to research, promote and preserve the Salish Language.
Below:  "Patrick Pierre, 80, a Pend d’Oreille elder and fluent Salish speaker, who teaches at NKwusm, and Ma’ii Pete, 14, one of the school’s first graduating students in the class of 2009, are seen at Nkwusm’s graduation pow wow June 13." (Photo courtesy Mark Ratledge)

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