When the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes first established the Salish-Pend d’Oreille Culture Committee (SPCC) in 1974-75, the small staff asked culturally knowledgeable elders to come in and teach what they knew. The elders responded by generously sharing their songs and stories — almost all in the Salish language, many of them handed down through tribal tradition from time immemorial. The staff recorded the elders on simple cassette tape machines. And from that humble beginning, the SPCC developed one of the world’s finest and most extensive archives of tribal oral history and culture.
The SPCC is working on a series of books that will include many excerpts from those recorded oral histories. Now, readers will have access not only to transcripts of the recordings, but also to the recordings themselves: the voices of tribal elders. It is their voices that we honor, respect, and put forward as the authorities on Salish-Pend d’Oreille language and culture. We hope this website will serve as a powerful way in which the elders can directly teach our language, our history, and our culture. Additional files will be made available as staff time allows for all SPCC books and projects.