wife Arlee works to preserve and teach the Salish language | State and regional
Indigenous Peoples Day is recognized by 13 states, including Alaska, California and Louisiana.
President Joe Biden made history by issuing the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day, which he signed on Friday, October 8. He also issued a proclamation for Columbus Day, which is established by Congress.
“For generations, federal policies have systematically sought to assimilate and displace Indigenous peoples and eradicate Indigenous cultures,” Biden wrote in the proclamation. “Today, we recognize the resilience and strength of Indigenous peoples and the immeasurable positive impact they have had on all aspects of American society.”
Speaking Salish was part of Decker’s upbringing, mostly from his great aunts and other tribal elders. At first, she heard the language at winter dances and other seasonal events.
Growing up, Decker attended the Nk̓ʷusm Salish Language School in Arlee where Pat Pierre was his eldest. He gave her the love of the language and helped her to express herself fluently.
“What he said in his speeches was so wise and it helped shape my passion in life,” Decker said. “So since then everything I’ve done has been about revitalizing the language.”