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To honor the next 7 generations, Samish Indian Nation preserves culture, language by moving online during the epidemic

Word for word, the teacher shares the Sami terms needed to express the ancestral lineage.

Sná7:, Name. Buttermilkmom Man:Dad: Sila 7:, grandparents. ” Someone, grandfather and grandfather.

Together, “this is my grandmother.” nilh ne-síla7 siyá.

In March, learning the language of the ancestral lineages was just one of the lessons that the Samish Indian Nation now provides. tribal citizens through virtual learning. As the epidemic began last spring, the Anacortes-based tribe realized that COVID-19 would be here for a long time, and that the approach to its previous individual cultural lessons needed to change.

Last summer, Samish leaders said that after conducting their family business meetings virtually, they decided to try to transfer their cultural program online.

The Samish cultural programs called “Chelangen” preserve the traditions, culture and language of the Samish people. Samish CEO Leslie Eastwood said չելանգեն: is a rich, multidimensional word in the Sami language. “It’s about our history, it’s about all our traditional teachings. “It’s the ancestral body from which we inherit all that knowledge,” Eastwood said.

(Samish Language Program Manager Kelly Hall shows the ancestry of the Samish language ancestry.)

In addition to the ancestral language lesson, the tribe also offers a number of other lessons for Samish citizens. There is a famous Samish history class taught by the tribal leader, bead lessons, drum-making lessons, traditional medicine, blanket making, cedar harvesting, “chat-craft” and many more.

Tribe Eghi Efforts was recognized online in February by Lazerfiche with the Racial Innovation Award from Director of Information Technology R. R. Walters.

Tom Wutten, president of the Samish Indian tribe, said the transition of tribal elders հետ further loss of tribal knowledge increases the urgency for him to find a solution to the problem of social exclusion.

Tom Vuten, President of the Samish Indian Nation. (Samish Indian Nation)

“One of the important things for me was to share the history of the tribe with the citizens, because your grandparents, aunts and uncles may no longer be there to tell you the stories you need to put together so you know how to connect,” Vuten said. : “And so I see it, because as an elder, I have to share this information. Fortunately, through this media, I am able to do that.”

Since posting their lessons online in Chelangen, tribal leaders have found the shift to be somewhat of a “hidden blessing.”

The inhabitants of Samish are geographically dispersed. While many live in traditional tribal areas, including the western San Juan Islands and the surrounding area, Eastwood said most Samisans live in King County, with many other people across the country.

Online courses have united the citizens of Samish, and everyone can participate in it using their computer և Internet from anywhere in the world. Some citizens have attended online courses in Ontario, Canada, Barrow, Alaska, and the Arctic.

“If COVID-19 has a silver lining, it’s for us. “To be able to connect with people we have not been able to connect with before,” Vuten said.

Like many Native American tribes, the Samis are not unfamiliar with disease or disease.

“This COVID-19 is not the first epidemic our nation has been through,” Vuten said. “Small measles, measles, all of them arose through European contacts, settlement, it was destructive for our population.”

According to the tribe, in 1847 the Samish had thousands of members, but 12 years later the number of the tribe was in the hundreds.

Samish’s experience reflected the experience of Native Americans throughout America. A 2019 study by University College London found that American colonization wiped out 90% of Native Americans.

However, said Wutten, samish people are nothing but adaptable. “It simply came to our notice then [asset] is persistence. “Over the centuries, some really bad things have happened to us.” But he said, “We will be here from time immemorial.”

Through Chelangen, the tribe keeps its basic promise and principle, Eastwood said.

“I would just go back to the teaching we have; we are pretty close to each other,” Eastwood said. “It was thought of us seven generations ago. Those who are now doing business, making decisions, we had a spark in our hearts – the imagination of seven generations of ancestors.

“And we have the same responsibility that we have to think about seven generations ago. : I think we have this great responsibility [make sure we] Continue to make sure that strong traditions and teachings live on and spread. ”

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