|January 3, 2013
Nkwusm’s Christmas dinner celebrated the holidays
By Alyssa Nenemay
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Chairman Joe Durgelo thanked Nkw
usm for their invite and work in preserving the tribal language and culture. (Alyssa Nenemay photo)
ARLEE — It was a collaboration of culture and celebration during the Nkwusm Immersion School’s annual Christmas dinner.
With guests who included CS&K tribal council members and elders who traveled throughout the reservation to attend, the children were shy during their original performance of “Jingle Bells” in Salish.
Santa Claus (left) paid a special visit to the dinner to hand out gifts. Steven Small Salmon (right), known for his talents in entertaining crowds, kept the festivities rolling. (Alyssa Nenemay photo)
Momentum grew when dinner was served. Guests had a huge selection from tables of food provided by the schools’ staff and parents. “It took an effort of everyone to make this happen and I just want to thank everyone who contributed,” said Nkwusm’s principal Kasey Murphy-Brazil.
The crowd’s bellies were filled and the children were ready to give their performance another go. Language specialist Steven Small Salmon, known for his talents in entertaining crowds, amped up their second try-providing a microphone and offering reassurance to the students. “You guys have been practicing for weeks now, you can do this. Let them see what you’ve been working on,” he said.
10-year-old Susep Plant was one of many children to receive a gift from Santa. No child left the dinner empty handed. (Alyssa Nenemay photo)
Three-year-old Matiya Nenemay stepped up to the challenge and started the song off with a solo. His fearlessness inspired the other students to join in and “Jingle Bells” was echoed throughout the gymnasium in Salish. “That little guy just touched my heart with his singing,” said Mary “Sophie” Green. “I almost started crying.”
Before he left, CS&K tribal chairman Joe Durgelo took an opportunity to thank the school for their work in preserving the Salish and Pend d’Oreille language and culture. “You all did a great job and I just wanted to thank you all for inviting (the tribal council) to this meal,” he said.
Three-year-old Matiya Nenemay set off the school’s Salish rendition of “Jingle Bells” with a solo. (Alyssa Nenemay photo)
The dinner’s grand finale was an appearance by Santa Claus and he had gifts to share with students, staff, and younger guests.
The gift of the Salish language and of gifts from Santa made this Nkwusm event a memorable one that will go down in history.