Community discussion focuses on ending violence against children and sexual abuse within Indigenous communities

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

There was no shortage of tears from the small gathering of Tulalip citizens during the recent screening of the movie Wind River on the night of April 13. The event, held at the Mission Highlands Community Center, is Tulalip Family Advocacy’s latest effort in bringing awareness, education and support to the community during National Child Abuse Prevention Month and National Sexual Abuse Awareness Month. 

The critically acclaimed movie follows a Fish and Wildlife tracker and an FBI agent as they investigate the death of a young Native American woman on the Wind River Reservation, home to both Arapaho and Shoshone tribes in Wyoming. The movie depicts a lot of the hardships Native communities experience such as substance abuse, race relations and violence. However, Wind River is based upon the unfortunate reality of the many unsolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women. The film also addresses the often complicated jurisdiction issue between tribal police and government officials, as well as the lack of officers on reservations which often stalls many of these cases. 

Although the event had a small turnout, everybody in attendance had yet to see the film prior to the movie night. This allowed the viewers to experience a flurry of emotions during the fast-paced action-mystery-drama. After the film ended, the crowd needed to take a personal moment to wipe away tears before participating in an open discussion about Wind River.  

Tulalip Child Advocacy Center Forensic Interview Specialist, Sydney Gilbert, asked the movie goers a series of questions that allowed the community members to relate and reflect on the issues brought to light by the movie.

“Watching this was heartbreaking and enlightening,” expressed an anonymous community member. “It should definitely be watched because it’s important. It shows the hopelessness many of our people feel living out on reservations. A lot of us can feel like there’s no way out on the rez, out of the rez life. In many ways, our people have adapted to numbing. And with all these deaths, whether it’s [a murder], drug overdose or suicide, you don’t have time to recover and heal. It’s almost like that’s our lifestyle now and numbing’s the new norm.”

The discussion was a personal, intimate hour-long conversation where the participants brainstormed ideas about how to overcome some of these issues as a community and spoke about how and when these situations first became problems for Native Americans. The group also shared personal stories and suggested new ways to help put an end to violence against children and sexual abuse within Indigenous communities.

One community member stressed that education is key for both prevention and healing when dealing with such serious topics, stating, “It’s generational trauma. This is something that happened in the boarding schools and it’s been a never-ending cycle. It’s important for our people to know that’s where it stems from in order to deal with those emotions and move forward because those are huge burdens that we are having to carry.” 

“The reason we chose Wind River is because not only is April Child Abuse Prevention Month, it’s also Sexual Abuse Awareness month,” states Sydney. “We felt that this film touches on that subject and opens up an important discussion around sexual assault in Indian Country.”

The film has been an eye-opener for many of its viewers across the nation. Most recently a law was signed here in Washington State that aims to prevent as well as provide assistance for the missing and murdered Indigenous women in this state. The law was passed months after the release of the film, when a government official realized how big of an ongoing issue this is for Native women, upon seeing the movie and several rallies across the state. The new law goes into effect this June and requires Washington State Patrol as well as the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs to work with tribal law enforcement to access more information and resources for reporting and identifying missing Native women in this state. 

Studies show that over 86% of Native women nationswide experience sexual or domestic violence in their lifetime, doubling the average amongst women of other races. Unfortunately, the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women remains unknown.

Family Advocacy will continue their month of awareness by distributing blue pinwheels, which represent the prevention of childhood abuse, to the entire community throughout the remainder of the month and will end with the Helping Our Sisters Heal gathering at the Tulalip Dining Hall from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on April 28. 

Power and Perception Exhibit Showcases Contemporary Native Artists

Kevin Red Star (Crow Nation; born 1943)
Buffalo Horse Medicine, 2007, Mixed media
     The Crow people have enduring relationships with horses. Paraded at the annual Crow Fair Celebration and other special events, horses adorned in beaded regalia demonstrate their value and importance to the Crow Nation. In Buffalo Horse Medicine, Kevin Red Star depicts horses that are an important breed for buffalo hunting. Red Star signifies a connection between this man’s identity as a buffalo hunter and his strong relationship with horses.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Many portraits of Indigenous people by non-Native artists romanticize, stereotype, or appropriate Native people and cultures. Contemporary Native artists are actively deconstructing these myths and preconceptions about their culture through the use of art. In fact, many modern-day artists use a dynamic combination of materials, methods and concepts that challenge traditional boundaries and defy easy definition. 

Charles M. Russell (born 1864, died 1926)
Indian Canoe Party, 1906, Watercolor on paper
      Great Slave Lake is in the Northwest Territories about 1,200 miles north of the Montana-Canada border. When Russell was 24-years-old, he spent six months in the Northwest Territory. It is possible that this painting is based on his travels.
Russell paints with a romanticism and nostalgia for what he considered the Old West. His idealized paintings of Natives are ripe with metaphors. In the early 20th century, most of America was concerned or convinced that Native cultures would be extinct. For Russell, the setting sun represented this false view.

Tacoma Art Museum’s newest exhibition “Native Portraiture: Power and Perception” gives voice to Native people and communities to show their resiliency and power over the ways in which they are portrayed and perceived. Native tribes aren’t uniform, they are diverse with a variety of distinct characteristics. As such, the artists in this show have taken on varied points of view while sharing their voice. All are well executed and demonstrate that you can’t pin Native art into a single category.

Preston Singletary (Tlingit; born 1963)
Whale & Eagle, 2013, Limited edition patented bronze
       Artists capture the true appearances of the animals by highlighting anatomy and form. Bronze sculptures typically appear on a base without any background images, which places further emphasis on the shape and individuality of each creature rather than on the scene or setting. Through his sculpture, Preston Singletary invites viewers to look more closely at animals and foster a sense of awe and wonder.

“We can now say, let’s look at this artwork and use a contemporary lens to unpack where these artists are coming from and why they painted the work in this manner,” explained Faith Brower, exhibit curator. “We hope to inspire visitors to explore both controversial issues of appropriation and cultural imagery, and to think differently about Western art and how it relates to their lives and communities.”

Wendy Red Star (Crow Nation, 1981)
Indian Summer – Four Seasons, 1996, Archival pigment print
       When visiting natural history museums, Crow artist Wendy Red Star was struck by the displays that treat Native people as inanimate remnants of the past. She reclaims these troublesome dioramas by humorously staging a fake museum display in which she wears an elk tooth dress, hair wraps and beaded moccasins while sitting on artificial grass surrounded by fabricated plants and animals. Simulating a mountain lake scene, this image uses humor and irony to address issues of stereotyping and romanticizing Native people today.

“Native Portraiture: Power and Perception”, on display through February of 2019, highlights work by Native artists who address issues of identity, resistance and reclamation through their powerful artwork. The artists ask us to reconsider images of Indigenous people because certain reoccurring themes, such as the “vanishing Indian” and “noble savage”, have led to centuries of cultural misunderstandings.

Shaun Peterson (Puyallup Tribe; born 1975)
Welcome Figure, 2010
Cedar, steel, graphite and magnets
       The 20-foot-tall Welcome Figure stands fixed in Tacoma’s Tollefson Plaza, where a Puyallup tribal village had once stood. From acquiring and transporting a suitable wind-fall cedar log, to devising a metal support system, to carving, assembling, and painting the figure, the work stands as a time-honored sculpture that greets people on Coast Salish lands. Funded by the City of Tacoma, the Puyallup Tribe, and Tacoma Art Museum, the figure is carved from a single log and marks the participation of the tribe and Coast Salish people in contemporary society. Installed on September 13, 2010, the Welcome Figure is a powerful reminder that we are on Indigenous land.

“What’s happening now is museums are realizing that they have a problem and that problem is that they don’t have the Native American perspective,” said exhibit artist Wendy Red Star. “All the culture has been mined and been talked about by non-Natives. Now, there’s a switch where that body of work works really well as sort of being an institutional critique piece. It tends to fit, to help articulate that in an exhibition like this.”

Rick Bartow (Wiyot Tribe; born 1946, died 2016)
Old Time Picture I, 1999
Mixed media on handmade paper
     Wiyot artist Rick Bartow is known for his powerful, vibrant and expressive images of people and animals. His work is honest and provocative depicting emotions that set it apart from stereotypical representations of Native people and cultures. Rather than glorifying a stoic person in a headdress, Bartow depicts the range of emotions that people feel through this depiction of a man. The title further suggest Bartow’s challenge of the stereotypical depictions of Native Americans.

Opening Day for Tulalip Challenger baseball

Submitted by Amy Sheldon and Josh Fyrberg

So thankful for the first game of the season for Tulalip Challenger baseball! Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers and families who came together today to play. Thanks to my dad Ray Sheldon and Josh for your support and to the wonderful kids who helped. A big shout out to Tarynn and Josh’s girls and Sam Gooch, you all are a big help

My family and I were so excited when Josh and my dad were able to bring Challenger little league to Tulalip. Challenger is a great family fun sport where the kids can be just like everyone else and run and have fun. Raising a daughter with special needs, there was never really any activities for her to participate in. I did get her to do Special Olympics bowling for a season, but our Special Olympics teams in Marysville gets very crowded. I love the idea of Tulalip Little League being the first league around Marysville/Tulalip to offer this to families. I’m very honored to be able to work with amazing people who have helped make this possible. I truly believe all our kids deserve the best and deserve all the same opportunities as their peers.

– Amy Sheldon, TLL Board of Director


 Being able to witness and help establish the Tulalip Little League Challenger team has been an honor. It was great seeing all of the youth, parents and volunteers supporting this division along with all of the TLL divisions. 

One of our goals is to make sure that all youth have the opportunity to participate and create great memories along with creating new friendships for all involved. This season for TLL has been a lot of work and it’s all worth it to see these athletes on the fields smiling and bringing baseball and softball back into our Tulalip Tribes community. 

Current divisions: 

  • 4 Tball teams
  • 1 Majors boys team
  • 1 AAA boys team
  • 1 AAA girls team
  • 1 Rookies boys team
  • 1 Rookies girls team
  • 1 Challenger team 

We would like to thank all of the Tulalip Little League board members: Malory Simpson, Teri Nelson, Ray Sheldon, Shawn Sanchey, Yogi Sanchey, Danielle Fryberg, Amy and Ryan Sheldon, Deanna Sheldon and myself. We would also like to thank Marlin Fryberg Jr. for starting TLL last year and District 1 BOD Little League for giving us the opportunity to participate. 

This year we have over 120 athletes and a lot of great volunteers for coaching our amazing athletes here in Tulalip Tribes. All of us are looking forward to seeing your support at the games, especially the youth. It is going to be a great season and especially one to remember. See you at the fields. 

If anyone would like to donate please make a check out to Tulalip Little League looking forward to the support from TPD also grateful for the sponsorships that we have received let’s continue to help our athletes grow and achieve their goals on and off the fields. Let’s continue to grow as Tulalip Tribes to become stronger create more unity and teamwork. Together we are stronger. Let’s make our future generations proud and successful.

– Josh Fryberg, President Tulalip Little League

For more information about Tulalip Little League and the newly created Challenger Division, please visit

Terry Willams Receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Salmon Habitat and Puget Sound Preservation

Tulalip Tribes Board of Director, Bonnie Juneau, presented Terry Williams with the award, custom-made with spawning salmon design, created by Camano Island artist, Molly LeMaster.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

On a gorgeous evening in Mukilteo, a considerable amount of conservationists attended the annual Snohomish Conservation District’s Better Ground Showcase on April 12. The showcase was held at the Rosehill Community Center, providing a beautiful view of Possession Sound where Washington State ferries were traveling from Mukilteo to Clinton. The Conservation District works with farmers, city residents as well as rural and suburban landowners to promote and encourage conservation and responsible use of natural resources. During the showcase, the Conservation District honored a number of Snohomish County citizens for their work in protecting the environment, presenting awards for Conservation Leaders of the Year, Youth Conservation Leaders of the Year and Volunteer of the Year as well as Lifetime Achievement Awards. Among the evening’s honored guests was Tulalip tribal member, Terry Williams. 

Terry received a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his decades of dedication to protecting our Mother Earth and preserving the salmon habitat. Since the early ‘80’s, Terry has been an advocate for the conservation of natural resources for future generations. He has led the Tulalip Natural Resources department in a variety of positions including Tribal Liaison to the Environmental Protection Agency as well as his current position as Commissioner of Fisheries and Natural Resources. Terry has built strong partnerships with local environmentalists and has also created a number of commissions and committees within the county. 

Tulalip Board of Director Bonnie Juneau presented Terry with a unique award that was constructed from tile and depicted spawning salmon. The handmade award was created by Camano Island artist, Molly LeMaster, and did not leave Terry’s possession for the rest of the entire evening. 

“This whole event was really wonderful,” Terry beamed. “Working with all of these folk has been extremely educational not only for me but also for the Tribe. I think it’s terrific. I’m really glad to see everybody here, it shows that community support. We’ve got so many problems to fix and everyone does a wonderful job when we all work together.”

Daryl Williams accepted an award for his work with Qualco Energy.

Terry was also essential in helping establish Qualco Energy, a local company that also received an award at the showcase for Conservation Leader of the Year. Accepting the award, along with his business partners, was Tulalip tribal member and Terry’s brother, Daryl Williams. 

“Qualco Energy is three-way partnership between the Tulalip Tribes, Northwest Chinook Recovery and the Sno/Sky Agriculture Alliance,” explains Daryl. “The partners came together to create a bio-digestive project where we collect cow-manure from Werkhoven Dairy. We capture methane that comes off of it and use that to create electricity and we store the liquids that come out for irrigating the fields during the growing season. Our main goal is for water quality purposes to get the raw manure off the fields. Over the last year we built a large rain garden at our facility to treat roof water coming off the farm, plus some of the runoff on the driveways. So, we’re just trying to clean up the water that’s coming off the farm.”

Daryl also shared his excitement for his brother stating, “I started working for the Tribe in ’77, so he must’ve started in ’82 or ’83. We’ve worked together for a long time. I’ve stayed on the habitat side of things, but Terry has done a blend of everything that encompasses Natural Resources. He’s done whatever it took to allow our fisherman enough time to harvest what they need and to protect the habitat so the fish have somewhere to go when they head upriver.”

“My dad always used to say treat your neighbors like you’d have them treat you. It’s the same with the environment,” expressed Terry. “To produce all the things that we really love and enjoy, we need to take care of it. And the more we take care of the environment, the better we’re going to be.”

Burke educators share cultural insights with Hibulb visitors

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

It was a much busier than normal morning for the Hibulb Cultural Center as many visitors, from young kids to elders, stopped in on April 5 to take advantage of a new opportunity to get up close and personal with cultural objects, artifacts and traditional items. Learning more about Tulalip and other tribes in the Pacific Northwest was made possible by the BurkeMobile and its helpful program educators.

BurkeMobile is a traveling program that brings Burke educators and real museum objects to learning environments across the state. Program participants are able to investigate the cultural heritage of local tribes through hands-on activities that stimulate curiosity and model new ways to learn. 

“BurkeMobile is our statewide outreach program. We travel all over the state visiting schools, communities, and public libraries to showcase natural history and culture programs,” explained Katharine Caning, Burke Mobile Manager. “This specific program we’ve brought to Hibulb is called Living Traditions. It’s about Native American cultural traditions in Washington State.”

A highly appreciated program created by Burke Museum, located on the University of Washington campus, BurkeMobile was created specifically to stimulate learning about accurate Native culture. The program has included Native voices in its creation, such as collaborating with Hibulb and adding a mock Hibulb Village with accompanying miniature longhouse and canoe display. 

“Part of this program is help teachers implement Since Time Immemorial curriculum in their classrooms,” continued Katharine. “A piece of that is having the learning material be more localized in order for students to learn about tribes living close to them. For example, when we reached out to Tulalip, Hibulb offered to build a model longhouse for us to display when we go to schools in this area.”

Over the two-hour window BurkeMobile was available, many Hibulb visitors, especially the youth, were engaged with the hands-on materials. They saw how cultural practices can grow and change over time from generation to generation and learned about the diverse, local Native culture. Burke educators were more than willing to answer any questions and offer insights into various subjects, just like they do when traveling to schools.

“One thing we always do is tell students whose ancestral lands they are on and what tribal cultural center is closest to them. We encourage them to learn more about tribes and ask questions to further their understanding,” shared Beatrice Garrard, BurkeMobile Education Assistant. “These traditions are ancient, in that they have been practiced since time immemorial, yet they have been adopted and are still ongoing today. Students learn that even though some of the objects look old, they were in fact created recently and these items are part of a still living tradition.”

For more information about the BurkeMobile, please contact (206) 543-5591 or email 

Darkness to Light, empowering people to take action against abuse

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“Childhood sexual abuse is a topic a lot of people don’t want to talk about,” says Tulalip Child Advocacy Center Manager, Jade Carela. “A lot of people think if they don’t hear about it or think about it, it’s not happening. But the reality is, it’s happening. It’s happening on our reservation. It’s happening a lot. The silence is what keeps it going, not talking about it and not getting proper education about it.” 

Tulalip Family Advocacy, consisting of the Child Advocacy Center, beda?chelh, Legacy of Healing, Family Haven and the Tulalip Safe House, is bringing support, awareness and education to the community during the entire month of April to help prevent childhood abuse and sexual assault. Throughout the country, communities are either observing April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month or National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Family Advocacy, however, decided to dedicate the month to raising awareness to both causes by hosting several events to help survivors of sexual crimes heal, as well as inform local citizens about how to prevent childhood sexual assault from occurring and also how to respond and report when somebody opens up to you about sexual abuse.  

The first event of Family Advocacy’s month of awareness was the two-hour Darkness to Light training held at the Tulalip Administration building on April 10. Darkness to Light is a national non-profit organization that empowers adults to take action and prevent childhood sexual abuse. The organization created the Stewards of Children training, which features a video presentation that teaches participants the ‘5 Steps to Protecting Our Children’ – learn the facts, minimize opportunity, talk about it, recognize the signs and react responsibly. 

The video presentation, told through the voices of adults who were victims of childhood sexual assault, revealed some very shocking statistics. One in every 10 kids are sexually abused by the age of eighteen; 90% of childhood victims know their abuser – 30% are abused by family, 60% are by friends of family and trusted adults and 40% are committed by older children. And when and if reported to police, 66% of all sexual assault cases involved youth and 35% of those accounts happened to children ages eleven and younger. Children who are survivors of sexual crimes experience a lifetime of trauma which can often lead to anxiety, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, defiance, teen pregnancy, promiscuity, eating disorders, self-inflicted harm and suicide. It is important to note that those statistics are based on incidents reported and many childhood sexual abuse incidents go unreported out of fear, shame and lack of support. 

“The Darkness to Light trainings equips community members with the knowledge of how to put measures in place to help prevent childhood sexual abuse and how to recognize the signs of childhood sexual abuse,” explains Sydney Gilbert, Tulalip Child Advocacy Center Forensic Interview Specialist. “You hear from a lot of survivors in this video, showing that it is possible to move forward if people have the support they need.”

During the video, the survivors recounted their attacks – who their abuser was, when the horrible act(s) occurred and how it altered their lives and interactions with others forever. More importantly, the victims detailed their life experiences after their assault, their struggles and how they worked through their trauma, showing other survivors that they can work towards healing and lead healthy and productive lives once addressing the incident. The video also covered the importance of helping your child establish personal boundaries with others, monitoring internet usage and listening for clues the child may be dropping, as kids tend to feel situations out before completely confiding in an adult. After the video, participants take part in an open discussion and are presented with a certificate for completing the Stewards of Children training. 

“This is one of the first classes I’ve been to that’s based on prevention,” states Tulalip tribal member, Toni Sheldon. “We’re done reacting, we need to be proactive. These are our kids, our future. We need to stop this cycle.”  

“I want this community to become more informed,” expressed Jade. “Typically, when we’re talking about childhood sexual abuse, we expect the child to disclose, to tell an adult. We expect the child to know when something bad is happening to them and that’s not right. We as the adults need to start taking the initiative. It needs to be put on us to take care of these children and start recognizing the signs. When we’re in public and notice someone is touching a child, not necessarily completely inappropriate, but you can tell that the child is uncomfortable with it; and not always expecting your children to hug family members because kids sense things differently than adults do and there might be a reason for that. And when a child is disclosing, a lot people aren’t properly educated on how to respond to that and sometimes it can make the child not want to disclose at all. So most of the time, children never do tell their story, they never tell what happened to them.

“These trainings are important because they teach us, as adults, to take back that accountability,” she continues. “It teaches us how to start recognizing different things within the community and the people we’re around. It teaches us how to stand up and say something. I want the victims to know that there are safe people in our community to talk to about abuse that has happened. There are people who will believe them and walk that path with them so they’re not alone.”

Family Advocacy is hosting a free movie night and discussion on Friday April 13 at the Mission Highlands Community Center from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. where they will be screening the movie Wind River.  Another Darkness to Light training will be held on Wednesday April 25, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Tulalip Administration building. National Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness Month will wrap up with Helping Our Sisters Heal, a traditional-inspired gathering for the women of the community who are survivors of violence and sexual assault. This will be held Saturday, April 28, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Old Dining Hall. 

 For further information, please contact Sydney Gilbert at (360) 716-4097 and to report child sexual abuse please contact the proper authorities by referring to the list of community resources provided by the Tulalip Child Advocacy Center.  



Community Resources for Responding to Child Sexual Abuse Tulalip and Snohomish County

Call the report abuse

Contact the CPS Program at 1-866-End-Harm or any Law Enforcement Agency at 911. You are not required to provided proof. Anyone who makes a good faith report based on reasonable grounds is immune from prosecution. If the abuse occurred within the past 72 hours, a medical evaluation by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner is available by going to the Emergency Department of your County Medical Center or going to the nearest child advocacy center. 


  • DVS assault hotline 425-252-2873
  • 24-hour mental health crisis care line 800-584-3578
  • Darkness to Light helpline 1-866-FOR-LIGHT    (1-866-367-5444)


Legal Help

  • Tulalip Office of Civil Legal Aid 360-716-4773
  • NW Justice Project 425-252-8515

Victim Advocacy

  • Tulalip Child Advocacy Center 360-716-5437
  • Legacy of Healing 360-716-4100


Treatment Providers

  • Tulalip Family Services 360-716-4400
  • Tulalip Youth and Family Wellness 360-716-4224
  • Catholic Community Services 360-651-2366

Support groups for survivors and for parents and families of children who have been abused

  • Providence Assault and Abuse Services 425-297-5782


Child Advocacy Centers in Snohomish County

Feel free to call the center with any questions about where to find resources related to child sexual abuse. Contact the nearest CAC to set up an interview of abuse is reported: 

Tulalip Child Advocacy Center  360-716-5437  2321 Marine Dr., Tulalip, WA 98271

Dawson’s Place 425-789-3000   1509 California St   Everett, WA 98201

Thousands celebrate tradition and culture at UW powwow

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The steady, strong sound of rhythmic drumbeats rumbled through Hec Ed Pavilion as dancers, big and small, honored their unique tribal cultures during the 47th annual Spring Powwow held at the University of Washington. Hosted by the student-led organization, First Nations, the two-day powwow brought out an estimated eight to ten-thousand people over the weekend of April 7th. 

Blackstone Singers from Cree Territory was the host drum. Their powerful voices echoed through the arena, while dancers from all over Indian Country showcased their unique style of dance and corresponding regalia. During Grand Entry, the main stage was awash with color and movement, sparkling gold and polished silver, the earth tones of leather and feathers, and all manner of fluorescent fabrics. 

In the concession area outside the arena, aromas of fry bread and smoked salmon filled the air as vendors set up table after table of unique, hand-made goods. 

The Spring Powwow is a competitive powwow, meaning it includes dance contests according to age (junior, teen, adult, 50 and up) and style. The dancers specialized in a variety of styles: grass, cloth, jingle, fancy, and chicken. Monetary prizes are awarded to dancers in each category who score highest with the judges. As the weekend continued, each dance category got its turn: the energetic fancy dancers, the bobbing movements of the women’s buckskin dance, and the strutting chicken dance.

Representing hundreds of tribes, University of Washington’s annual powwow is one of the biggest powwow in the Pacific Northwest. Free to the public, it continues to provide a perfect opportunity for families and individuals from all walks of life to celebrate a culture that continues to thrive in tradition.

Basket weaving, face painting and a petting zoo…must be TVTC Family Day

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The latest cohort of TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC) students made some pretty cool memories with their family and friends on Thursday, April 5th, during the spring session’s “Family Day”. 

“We set aside a day every session to bring families together, allowing for the children of students to visit the training center and experience their parents’ success,” said Lynne Bansemer, Client Services Coordinator. “Our students continue to build bookcases, and during this event their families come together to decorate the bookcases and choose books to begin or add to their reading collections. Our students have so much pride on this day. It allows their family members to witness what they are doing and how they are growing.”

Making the day even more impactful for everyone was being given an introduction to basketry. Instructors were on hand to teach construction students and their families how to make garlic baskets in the traditional way using round reed.

Tulalip Dental Clinic staff member Heidi Miller came in and shared her weaving skills to the eager learners. Heidi brought with her longtime weaving mentor Bob Roeder, and together they assisted participants making their own unique crafts, such as garlic baskets and decorative finials.

The gathering of students with their young children also allowed for some hands-on experience with trade skills. Several of the kids assisted their parents adding special meaning to their personal projects. Whether it was hammering a nail or adding additional flare with some bright colored paint, the children apprentices made their presence felt. 

“It was pretty cool having a dedicated day to bring in my daughters and have them be able to get their faces painted, play with animals from the petting zoo, and see the personal project I’ve been working on,” shared TVTC student and Tulalip tribal member, Hayden Cepa.

“Today meant so much to me and my family. More valuable than money, it meant quality time with my kids, and when they’re happy then I’m happy,” added TVTC student, Jeffrey White, who was able to bring in his wife and five children all the way from Tacoma. “All the time I’ve been away from them lately so I can be in the program, it made it all worth it to see how excited they were to be here and learn about what their dad has been working on.”

Family Day proved to be a special day for everyone involved. The children got to see their mom or dad in the workplace, and share with love and laughter in the day’s event. TVTC staff witnessed the pride not only in the students’ faces, but within their families as well. This is all made possible through the tireless work of the TERO staff and in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant that they received.

“I think this is such a great program. I’ve seen a lot of people come through here and get into the workforce,” remarked Tony Hatch, who participated in Family Day to support his nephew, Killian. “Right now, Tulalip is booming with construction projects. There’s a lot of adults who can’t sit behind desks, they’d rather be outside in the elements working with their hands. For those with that kind of drive, this is a great program for them and opens up a lot of possibility with local construction crews.”