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.  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 everyday.

Thoughout this path, we have made many friends and partners to help us along the way. We have created a 6-level language acquisition path that is designed to take a person from "no-salish" to "pretty darn good" in 18 months. We have also developed many learning tools and Apps to supplement the classroom instruction. Please visit the curriculum and the language software page to see what we have.

To learn more about our language revitalization efforts, watch the short video below.

Northwest Profiles: Saving Salish - Language Revival

Our Staff

Name Title Email Phone
JR Bluff Language Director jrbluff@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7294
Jessie Isadore Language Coordinator jisadore@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7286
Stan Bluff Salish Language Advisor sbluff@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7203
Johnny Arlee Salish Language Advisor jarlee@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7280
Vickie Leach Immersion School Teacher vleach@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-1125
Christina Butler Language Teacher I cbutler@kalispeltribe.com 509-445-1125
Nalene Andrews Language Teacher I nandrews@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7463
Todd Ellingburg Immersion School Administrator tellingburg@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-7461
Alisha Athos Immersion School Lead Teacher aathos@kalispeltribe.com 509-447-
Paul Renaud Immersion School Teacher prenaud@kalispeltribe.com
Dave Browneagle jr Immersion School Teacher dbrowneagle3@kalispeltribe.com 447-

Kalispel Language Survival School (ANA Grant)

The Kalispel Tribe was fortunate enough to receive an Esther Martinez Initiative Language Grant in 2018. This grant is designed to expand the current K-2 Kalispel Language Immersion School (Snyoyoʔspuʔúsm) to include grades 3-5. This 3-year grant entails creating grade 3-5 curriculum for math, science, and literacy; and training 3 new teachers to speak the Kalispel language so they can teach in the classroom. Project personnel are Melinda McCormick (Curriculum Expert), Lisa Hoisington (Certified Elementary Teacher), Albert Thomas (Associate Teacher), and Chelsea Samuels (Associate Teacher).

Our Staff

Name Title Email Phone
Melinda McCormick Curriculum Expert mmccormick@kalispeltribe.com
Lisa Hoisington Certified Elementary Teacher lhoisington@kalispeltribe.com
Albert Thomas Associate Teacher ALthomas@kalispeltribe.com
Chelsea Samuels Associate Teacher csamuels@kalispeltribe.com