Salish Teen Wins Gold FCCLA 2011 Medal for Salish Language Work

The number of native Salish speakers has declined by 3/4 in just 6 years, from 200 to 50! However, there’s a chance that number won’t dwindle to 0 thanks to high school senior Rose Bear Don’t Walk (Salish), who became the first St. Ignatius attendee to compete at the state FCCLA: Family Career and Community Leaders of America tournament (March 17-19) in Billings, Montana where she took home the silver, as well as the nationals in Anaheim, California where she was awarded the gold for her dedication to her community’s language.

After attending Salish classes at the Native American Teachers Training Institute, conversing with tribal elders, and attending the Celebrating Salish Conference in Spokane, she was able to address the judges in Salish (Good day everyone, my name is Rose Bear Don’t Walk and I’m so happy to be here today), and communicate with her two little cousins in Nkwusm, a Salish immersion school in Arlee. She reports newfound pride in being able to better understand powwows and tribal ceremonies, and has big plans for helping Salish further in the future.

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