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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


October 5, 2002 - Issue 71


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Language preservation efforts boosted by $100,000

by Char-Koosta News - The Official News Publication of the Flathead Indian Nation Online

CSKT logoELMO, MT -- Last summer, about 50 kids in the Elmo area showed up twice a week to learn about the Kootenai culture through the Summer Youth Activity Program sponsored by the Ksanka Language Commission here.

The Commission plans to continue its work to preserve the Kootenai language and culture by hosting after-school programs in Polson and opening a daycare and Head Start program in Elmo.

On Sept. 19, the Tribal Council gave the Commission a little over $100,000 to make their goals a reality.

Wilfred Kenmille, Commission member, said the daycare and Head Start are slated to open sometime in January. He said the old Elmo school is currently under renovation.

However, the after-school programs and family nights in Polson will be underway soon.

This is the second year the Commission has offered such a program to Elmo-area youth and Kenmille said it's something they plan on offering every year, in addition to their other programs.

Not only did kids between the ages of three and 18 learn bustle and dress making and the Kootenai language, they enjoyed activities such as rafting, driving go-carts, swimming, playing miniature golf and camping.

The Commission is also offering $100 to the first person who can provide definitions to all the Kootenai words listed on blue cards they've distributed to the Elmo area.

In addition to funds from the Tribal Council, the Commission has received help from the Ford Foundation, Salish Kootenai College, Polson Partnership Program, Cherry Valley School and the Salish Kootenai Housing Authority.

Gloria Trahan, Commission member, said they are also selling greeting cards decorated with local children's art to raise money. So far, she said, she's sold cards to people from as far away as New York and Arizona.

For more information about the greeting cards, the Language Commission, or to volunteer, make a donation or offer ideas, call 406/849-6644; write to P.O. Box 134, Elmo, MT 59915; or send e-mail to

Elmo, MT MAP
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