With only two born native speakers left, the Spokane Salish School is working to keep the language and culture of interior Salish alive.
SPOKANE, Wash. — At the Salish School of Spokane, children learn, speak, and sing the Salish tongue. It’s regarded as an endangered language with only two born native speakers left. The Spokane Salish School is working to keep the language and culture of interior Salish alive.
“It’s not gone. And it is learnable,” teacher Grahm Wiley-Camacho explained. “So, for our language, it’s impossible for it to ever be truly lost now because it’s so well documented. It’s like Latin, it’s always there if you want. We just aren’t in the dire straits that some other languages are in where they don’t have that tool and that documentation.”
As the students at the school learn Salish, the goal is that they will be able to carry on a conversation in the language.
“So, we call fluency …