Chehalis, a First Nation situated near the confluence of the Harrison and Chehalis rivers in what is now known as the province of British Columbia, is developing ways for working with children and families that honour their own history, widom and values. The people of Chehalis have created a document that represents such values and gives direction to the work of assisting their own people.
Snowoyelh is the natural law the creator provided for us. It is the "Law of Everything", the law of life, the stages of life. Snowoyelh is based on respect to all things, recognition, obligation and traditions, and is the basis of our culture and spirituality.
Emi:melh is a generic word meaning children, but also means family, whether by blood or association; the word has both social and spiritual connotations.
Sts'a'lies is who we are.
Snowoyelh Te Emi:melh is an obligation that we as Sts'a'lies people have to our children, our families, our ancestors and those yet to come, because that is the natural law.
Snowoyelh Te Emi:melh includes these principles:
- Our families are paramount to our culture and society
- We have the capacity to codify family law
- Our culture, spirituality and traditions are core to our identity
- Past, current and future generations are all important to us
- Our children are our most precious gift
- All children have unique gifts
- We are measured by the actions of our children and grandchildren
- Families must be recognized and supported
- Extended families have a role in raising children
- Our families have connections that extend beyond our community
- Healing must be provided to those family members who need it
- Healthy communities are based on healthy families
- In family there are no 'reserve' boundaries
- Community leaders have a place supporting and advocating for their members