KWIS 88.3

About the KWIS logo:

Lawrence Aripa was the original artist of the picture that became our logo.  Our logo was gifted to us from Coeur d’Alene Felix Aripa in October of 2015.  In an interview with Felix he expressed that Communication has always been of immense importance for the Coeur d’Alene people. From the times of the “walking newspapers“(people who would share the news)  to the animals such as the bear hanging around along the river, communicating to the people that the salmon are coming;  to today’s modern technologies. Communication has advanced the Coeur d’Alene people to where they are today. In 1878, the executive order was established that promised education and health care to the Coeur d’Alene people. Through the Boarding school where they were taught many trades such as carpentry and blacksmithing, the promise of Education came to fruition.

When telephones and radios were introduced to the Coeur d’Alene people many things changed. Growing up, Felix’s family had a radio at their farm, with the long pole and wire to the barn to get reception. Most families didn’t have a radio in their home so they would gather with those who did, to listen to the radio together. The ‘old timers‘ then couldn’t understand English or hear very well so they didn’t care much about this new technology, but they knew it gave the kids great enjoyment and the elders would watch the children listen to it. During the depression people couldn’t afford electricity so the radios then were battery operated and were only on at certain times of day. Felix recalled how when he attended the Boarding school that in the evenings they would play the radio to listen to certain programs.

Music also became a big part of the past times for the Coeur d’Alene people. They had an orchestra and a choir.  Hank SiJohn was the director of the ‘Glee Club’ in High School, and had special solos that he would sing. He went on to the University of Idaho and then directed the Vandlaeers. “Music kept our people going and has always been with us“, Felix stated. He explained that it was probably what Lawrence was trying to express in his drawing of ‘Snozz’ playing the harp that was shaped in the form of the Coeur d’Alene Reservation. Coeur d’Alene Tribal member, Mildred Bailey, became a hit in the 50’s with her Blues sound.

During our interview with Felix, he also shared with us the importance of the Schitsu’umsh language. When the missionaries came, they took an interest in the Coeur d’Alene people and learned the language to be able to comumunicate with them and learn from them. Some of the elders then said that the priests even sounded like the ‘old timers‘, because of how well they learned the language.

Today not only is KWIS able to share music but also focuses on sharing the language and culture with those who live and travel to the Coeur d’Alene reservation.  Felix shared with us, “that the language is the main part of our Culture” and that is where he learned his biology from. A lot of the old stories share history with the neighboring Tribes: the Colville, Spokane and Flathead. Their languages were similar and they could understand one another and spent time together.

KWIS is the only local FM radio Station in the area that shares vital information to the Couer d’Alene people and community members who live and work here. They offer local news and community updates, Coeur d’Alene Language and Cultural information, and allow the community to share their talents through their music that we air or through the shows they come in and host.

Nothing seemed more fitting that Snozz coming to reside here at KWIS and we are eternally grateful to Lawrence Aripa and his creative contribution that will live on long past his time here with us, and for Felix allowing us to use his artwork and sharing his story with us.