The SLI or Salish Language Institute in Arlee, Montana is the premier institute in the world fighting to stop the extinction of Montana Salish. The SLI also runs the Salish Immersion preschools to ensure that kids become fluent in Salish from a very early age. The current situation is a sad one because a native American language like Montana Salish that had almost 7000 speakers has less than 120 speakers. The other part of the tragedy is that not a single person below the age of 50 speaks this language with proficient fluency.
The crucial role that the Salish Language Institute plays
So, the establishment of the SLI in the year 2009 was more than anything else the need of the hour. Under the guidance of Tacchini Pete who himself learned this language later in his life, the SLI has fared reasonably well in the past 8-9 years. It is always brilliant to see people taking steps and fighting hard to keep various aspects of their culture alive. A unique language with various advantages has to be an integral part of almost any lifestyle.
The methodology used by SLI in protection and revitalization of Salish
The hands-on lessons in Salish will be an essential part of the battle to keep this native American language alive. People such as Stephen Small who is a member of the Salishan tribe nurture young minds by providing excellent language training in Salish. With the consistent efforts on the part of Mr. Tachini Pete and Mr. Small, you might notice a definite spike in the number of Montana Salish speakers in the years to follow.
The path that Salish has undergone in recent years
Salish has many dialects which are preserved by various tribes across Montana, Washington, and even Idaho. Some dialects which people spoke till about 20-30 years ago are already dead. The fact that so many types of Salish do not exist anymore is an indication of the future if the situation remains the same. Traditional tongues and scripts have a beauty of their own which makes the culture of countries diverse and encompassing. Language classes to teach Salish must become more relevant to ensure that this diversity of culture continues for a long time to come.
It is not hard to imagine that one inspirational class may motivate a substantial number of peoples to learn the more delicate aspects of Salish. If the kids of these Native American tribes learn Montana Salish, then the preservation of this language will become a relatively easy process.
- The Salish Language Institute makes sure that they not only teach their language but also other vital subjects in Salish. It is a smart move that can make a lot of difference going further.
- The Kootenai and Salishan Tribes make up for a substantial portion of the 50 people in the world who can speak Salish fluently.
- The origin of the Montana Salish dialect can be traced back to the Flathead Indians.
- Montana Salish has a large number of consonants with very few vowels in between.