The mission and vision of the Chelángen Department is to create a cohesive tribal community with strong cultural ties while preserving, promoting, and protecting our traditions, culture, and language.
In November 2015, the Chelángen Department was created by bringing together existing positions into one department with the goal of helping us work more cohesively and efficiently. The Chelángen programs include:
Mékw’Scháy7áw7xw tse Schelá7ngen: (The Cultural Department)
“Éwene schelá7ngen-s.” “He/she has no upbringing.” That would be what grandma or grandpa would say about another child that was into mischief or not behaving well at a gathering. Or some elder would say to a youngster too, “Estónget-sxw óch? Éwene en-schelá7ngen?” “What’s the matter with you? Do you have any upbringing?”
These common phrases were spoken often from the older generation to the younger generation from time immemorial. It was one of the most important teachings of our people. These instructions were vital for the survival of our ancestors, a group of people, a family, and an individual because without schelá7ngen, you were considered poor.
This word “schelá7ngen,” has a complex set of meanings, including:
- One's Upbringing
- One's Background or genealogy
- One's Personal History
- One's Tribal History
- One's Culture & Heritage
- One's Oral Traditions & Teachings
The earlier days of the Samish Tribe’s organization points to the preservation of traditions and culture of the Samish Tribe (Samish Constitution 1951, Articles 1-5). The present Council felt the need to carry on with those earlier traditions and culture with meaningful input of the Samish staff.
During the late summer, administrative staff held a number of sessions addressing the need for a coordinated effort of the staff with the ‘Samish culture under one house’ concept. In keeping with the ‘updated ways’ of traditions and culture, the Mékw’ Scháy7áw7xw tse Schelá7ngen or “Cultural Department” was created.
The mékw’ scháy7áw7xw means ‘all offices,’ (e) tse schelá7ngen means ‘(of) the culture,’ therefore the Mékw’ Scháy7áw7xw tse Schlá7ngen means ‘The Culture Department.’