Nkwusm Family


The Salish language is currently spoken by less than 23 people, most of whom are over 75 years old. There are no first language fluent Salish speakers under 50.

Nk̓ʷusm - Salish Language School is located near traditional Salish horse racing grounds in Arlee, Montana. 

Nk̓ʷusm opened it's door to students in 2002 as a result of the rapid decrease in Salish fluent speakers in the community.  The school started with one classroom, two fluent speakers, and five students. From this humble beginning the school has been in operation for 14 years and grown to include 3 multi-level classrooms with students from preschool up to the eighth grade.  The 2016-2017 school year enrolled 35 students ages 2-13.

Language is more than identity, it is our path to our very existence. Language Schools serve as an avenue to teach native language and pass on the cutlure and traditions or our people. We have had the unique opportunity to create a curriculum based in traditions, culture and ceremonies. We must pass on the knowledge of our families, songs, envirnonment, tradtions, lifeway's, spirtual beliefs and ceremonies. The most powerful way to do so lies within our language. Language is the key to maintaining our tribal identiy, culture, and core values while strengthening our families, communities, tribal government and sovereignty.

We believe that language is one of the most important aspects of cultural survival. One of our late elders, Sophie "Supi" Mays onece said, "ta qe qes čmšqnmistm - we will never give up!" We stand by her words.