Chris Briden

Language Teacher

Chris Briden was born in Puyallup, Washington. Chris is Puyallup, Blackfeet and Coeur d'Alene. His mother is Roberta Basch, his dad is Allen Briden, his Puyallup grandpa is Ruben Wright Sr. and is Coeur d'Alene grandmother is Elaine Briden. His Blackfeet grandmother is Rose Briden.

Chris spent his early years in Tacoma, Fife and Puyallup. However, he spent most of his life in the Seattle area. He was lucky enough to hear the old language spoken by his grandpa, Ruben Wright Sr. Regrettably, Chris did not appreciate how important it was to learn as much as he could from him and when Ruben passed away, he thought that the language was gone from the world forever.

Chris took a path that led him into the music field. He went to Central Washington University to study music education and played the viola. Eventually, he enrolled at Indiana University where he completed his undergraduate degree and then his master's degree in early music, studying the viola da gamba and history of the European Renaissance and Baroque.

While at Indiana University, he availed himself of the violin making course taught by Thomas Sparks. He has nearly completed a violin and has begun work on another Renaissance instrument called a lyra da braccio. He also gained proficiency in violin repair and used that skill to become a professional violin repair man in a shop in the Seattle area.

Chris actively performs in musical ensembles in the Seattle area on the viola da gamba. Chris also has a small studio where he teaches his instrument to children and adults.

Though he spent most of his time making music and repairing instruments, Chris was always studying the txʷəlšucid language. All of Chris's free time was spent with Vi Hilbert's and Tom Hess's Lushootseed 1 and 2 books open, making flashcards and practicing the language with his two cats.

For Chris, his job as a language teacher for the Puyallup Tribal Language department is a dream come true: getting paid to study the language, to teach it, and to bring back the language that was nearly stolen from us.