Spokane Tribe

Wellpinit, WA

Language Curricula Development for An Immersion School

The Spokane Tribe has existing language files that contain hundreds of handwritten language documents transcribed from old reel-to-reel tapes of Tribal Elders recorded in the late 60s –early 70s.  Access to these precious handwritten transcriptions was difficult for language staff and teachers. With Phase 1 funds, we hired a temporary Language Program Assistant to scan, archive, compile and organize language/cultural materials to create a database and two comprehensive curricula.


We have now categorized, organized, and archived all language program files containing handwritten language and history documents. The part-time employee was hired with Phase 1 funding, Carol Campbell, is now a full time Spokane Tribal employee!  The Tribe saw the importance of her work and hired her to take the project to the next step.  Carol is now typing and scanning the organized documents into a data software program. This will create easier access and prevent loss or damage to the original documents.  The Spokane language program has begun using information, songs, stories and documents obtained from the archives, making the curricula better than what was originally created.

The new organization of the language archives gives the language teachers and curriculum developer access to the documents they need for lesson plans and curriculum. Carol is creating shared files for all teachers and staff.


While the project went as planned, the estimate of time to complete the project was longer than expected.  This proved to be a positive turn of events, as it allowed us to request more funding from the Tribe to increase Carol’s hours, and to substantiate the need to hire her as a permanent employee, allowing us to complete the project and take it to the next level. Although the initial project of categorizing, organizing, and archiving existing language files did not establish partnerships, we will be reaching out to the Spokane Tribes Preservation Department and Elders who may have written documents or old recordings.

The Spokane Tribe’s contributions were $11,940 in wages and fringe.  The Tribe also purchased a computer and software for $1,485.00. Total matching funds contributed was $13,425.00.  Since Carol is now a permanent employee, the Tribal contribution to the project is endless.

The next step after the documents are categorized, organized, and archived is already in progress.  Carol continues to scan and type all handwritten documents. Soon, a networking file will be created within the department allowing employees direct computer access to stories, history, and audio recordings. This will be done with Tribal Funding.

  • Carol at filing cabinet

  • Carol at desk

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