Thursday, March 10, 2011

Celebrating Salish

The Celebrating Salish 2011 Conference gathered at the Northern Quest Hotel and Casino in Airway Heights, where more than 300 people represented tribes throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Most of those in attendance are best described as Salish learners with varying degrees of proficiency, but several fluent speakers remain.

During the first session, I attended a storytelling workshop with several fluent speakers, including Kalispel tribal elder Francis Cullooyah. Francis offered a brief introduction to the session in English, but as soon as the doors closed, he addressed us only in Salish. I'm not fluent in the language, but I was able to understand more than half of the words he spoke.

Francis also shared the session with several other speakers.

One man inspired me more than all the others. He mostly spoke about supporting our children in learning the language, but I surprised myself when I was able to translate the majority of his words into English for a friend who sat nearby. I didn't know the man; I only heard that they called him Etwan.

During the second session, I attended a workshop with Spokane tribal elder Pauline Flett. Years ago, I took Pauline's Salish class at Eastern Washington University, so this session was a like a homecoming for me. I always appreciate her humor and warmth as she shares her expertise in the language. I learned several new words tonight, along with a few new stories about familiar places on the Spokane Reservation.

This conference is an inspiration to me. I look forward to all the stories and workshops during the upcoming sessions.

The lobby of the Northern Quest Hotel.

1 comment:

just as I am said...

Hi I am new to this, I live in oliver bc and want to find music, songs , language, dance videos some with lyrics and translations to see and learn from,, for my area.. can anyone help


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