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Nkwusm powwow celebrated latest graduates

By Alyssa Nenemay

Eighth grade graduates Mars Sandoval (Left) and Nicole Perry (Right) joined the Nkwusm “Family” as toddlers. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay) Eighth grade graduates Mars Sandoval (Left) and Nicole Perry (Right) joined the Nkwusm “Family” as toddlers. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)

ARLEE — The Nkwusm Salish Immersion School hosted a graduation powwow at the Arlee Community Center to celebrate two of its longest attending students in their promotion to high school.

Honorees Nicole Perry and Mars Sandoval joined the Nkwusm “Family” as toddlers and have been rooted in a blend of traditional and contemporary concepts of education. The first of its kind, Nkwusm is a Pre-K through 8th grade non-profit school that emphasizes Salish language, culture, and education in its curriculum. Perry and Sandoval are the only graduates have attended Nkwusm for their entire grade school life.

Aside from drumming and dance performances, the Nkwusm powwow hosted its signature series of cakewalks. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)Aside from drumming and dance performances, the Nkwusm powwow hosted its signature series of cakewalks. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)

Emotions were up and down throughout the celebration as instructors gave speeches in the graduates’ honor. Slide shows highlighted the students’ experiences at the school and aside from drumming and dance performances, the powwow featured raffles, cakewalks, and a feast for all guests.

Family drum group “Dancing Bear” from the Flathead Reservation was host drum for the powwow. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay) Family drum group “Dancing Bear” from the Flathead Reservation was host drum for the powwow. (Photo By Alyssa Nenemay)

While the thought of high school brings about great excitement for the graduates, Perry said she is also at a loss. “Nkwusm has been amazing! I’ve learned a lot in nine years. They’re my family and I’m going to miss them a lot,” she said.

The graduates will be attending Arlee and Polson High Schools in the fall. For more information on Nkwusm, visit: www.salishworld.com or call: (406) 726-5050.

See more Nkwusm Graduation photos on our Facebook page

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