Thursday, January 23, 2014

Children Recite "I Have A Dream"--in the Salish Language

The Salish School of Spokane is a local nonprofit dedicated to "creating a vibrant community of fluent speakers of Interior Salish languages by providing Salish language instruction to children and by empowering parents and families to speak Salish in their daily lives." I believe they have been around for just a couple of years, but they seem quite active with a variety of programs. For Martin Luther King Day, they recorded this wonderful little video of some kids reciting a portion of the "I Have a Dream" speech--in Salish!

Salish was the family of languages spoken over roughly the northern half of the Columbia Plateau, parts of the northwest coast, and over into western Montana. According to the Montana-based Salish Language Institute, Salish "is currently spoken by less than 50 people, most of whom are over 75 years old. There are no first language fluent Salish speakers under 50." The good news is that, as with so many aspects of native culture, there are currently efforts to revive the language among many tribes. Here is a short video about reviving Salish on the Kalispel reservation. If you want to check out some Salish, the Salish School has some audio lessons online. The Salish Institute has a YouTube channel with videos in Salish and English. Or you can just sit back and watch Caspar the Friendly Ghost in the Okanagan Salish dialect:

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