Polson is on the Flathead Indian
Reservation. The reservation is home to the Confederated Salish
and Kootenai Tribes. The tribes consist of a confederation of
Salish and Pend d'Orielles Tribes and the Kootenai, as an individual
Mr. Kenmille, a tribal member comes
to our classes to teach us words from the Koonenai language.
The Salish bands gathered on the reservation
in its early days. Each spoke slightly different dialects of the
Kalispell or Flathead language. The Kalispell language is part
of the Salish family of languages spoken by many tribes of the
Pacific Northwest. The Kootenais speak a totally different language.
Almost all of the tribal members now living speak English only
as a result of years of schooling. It is said that only 80 fluent
speakers of the language exist today.
We are so fortunate Mr. Kenmille helps
us learn some of the words of this very special language.