Steven Arca

Steven Arca

Salish Language Instructor, Native Language Teacher Education Department

Stevenson Rm. 107

(406) 275-4753




  • M.Ed., Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction: Integrative Indigenous Education- Salish Kootenai College, 2023
  • B.S., Native Language Teacher Education– Salish Kootenai College, 2022
  • A.A., Salish Language Educator Development- Salish Kootenai College, 2021

Steven (Stipi) Arca was named for his uncle Stephen (Stipn) Small Salmon in 1963. He was raised by his yayaʔ, Mary Beaverhead Small Salmon and his mom, Alice Small Salmon in Ronan, Montana. His father is Jerry Arca of the Skokomish Tribe. Stipi is Ql̓ispé and enrolled in the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Stipi started his language path when he was accepted into the Adult Intensive Language Program at Nk̓ʷusm Salish Language School in 2012. With Patlik, Stipn, and his Elders as his teachers, he has found reawakening and vitalization of his identity through his language journey. Through this work, Stipi has found a renewed purpose in life. So much so, that it has become his work. In his last days, Atwen addressed Stipn, Chaney, and Stipi with a request to ensure their work in language education continues. At that time, Atwen shared how proud he was of Stipi’s strength as an orator who talked honestly as a voice of for the Ql̓ispé people.

To aid in this work, Stipi decided to pursue his education while teaching and working full time within the Séliš-Ql̓ispé Culture Committee’s Salish Language Apprentice program, and now, as a Salish Language instructor in the NLTE program within the Division of Education at Salish Kootenai College. In 2021, he earned an associate’s degree in Salish Language Educator Development and in 2022, a bachelor’s in Native Language Teacher Education. In 2023 Stipi completed his master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an option in Integrated Indigenous Education. To even better ensure he can continue to be a voice for his people, Stipi is now pursuing his doctorate at Montana State University.

With all of this, he is humble and understands that no matter what education a person holds, their success and value rests on how they live the teachings of those who come before. For Stipi, it has been his yayaʔ, sisileʔ, his uncles, Stipn, Patlik, Stanley, and the many other elders and teachers he has had throughout his lifetime.