Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital celebrates grand opening

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman Marie Zackuse cut the ribbon at the Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital grand opening.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“When you think about the heart and soul of Washington, what we do is we get better,” stated Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee. “We build better jets every couple years, we build better software every couple years. Isn’t it a joy to know that hundreds of Washingtonians are going to get better because of the Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital? What a joy to celebrate that effort and to know that these folks are going to get better.”

Hundreds of Snohomish County community members recently celebrated the grand opening of the new 70,000 square-foot behavioral hospital on July 13. The 115-bed psychiatric and addiction center will provide both inpatient and outpatient care for children, teens, adults as well as elders; and will offer specialized programs for the youth, women and veterans of the community who are in need of mental health care. Operated by US HealthVest, a behavioral healthcare company that runs multiple behavioral hospitals nationwide, the Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital aims to provide care to individuals suffering with mental disorders as well as to those battling drug addictions.

“This facility fulfills an incredible need in the state of Washington,” Governor Inslee continued. “We have not had the capacity, not even close to the capacity, to provide for the mental health of our citizens and this plugs an enormous gap in this community. The effort of this company to work with others including the Tulalip Nation, who I understand has a contract with this facility, what a beautiful partnership.”

The behavioral hospital is working with local tribes to offer culture-based healing for the Native American community. The hospital also features Native American artwork and incorporates traditional teachings for tribal members receiving care.

“I want to offer my congratulations on behalf of our elders, our youth and community at large for building a facility that was a need like twenty years ago,” expressed Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman, Marie Zackuse. “I want to thank Dr. Richard Kresch and US HealthVest for the work they have done these past five years, to build and now manage this facility. Your staff has worked with ours, and the Tulalip Tribes look forward to a strong and supportive relationship.”

“Thank you to Misty Napeahi, our Tulalip Tribes General Manager, for helping build a relationship between our Tribe and the Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital, it will help ensure Tulalip tribal members and other Native Americans in this area have access to the care they need,” said Marie.

Community members had the opportunity to tour the two-story facility during the grand opening celebration. The hospital features a recreational room with board games, coloring books and fitness equipment such as yoga mats and stability balls. The hospital also utilizes uplifting colors throughout the building and each patient room is free of any sharp edges and hooks, creating a safe environment for patients to grow and heal.

“We have been talking a lot recently about healthy communities,” Marie stated. “Working together as community partners to identify the needs of our people was a critical first step. The essential services in acute behavioral health care and addiction treatment are necessary if we want to heal our communities. Again, I just lift my hands to each and every one of you who helped this dream come alive.”

For further information, please contact the Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital at (844) 202-5555 or visit their website

Monkey Business: Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy Visits Zoo

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

On a sunny July 14 afternoon, students of the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy traveled with their families to Seattle to visit with the animals of the Woodland Park Zoo. Each summer Early Learning provides a free zoo pass to each enrolled student and one accompanying adult. The Academy encourages families to join the students at the annual zoo trip and provides lunch to the students and each family member.

As the kids explored the zoo map alongside their instructors and families, they admired the gorillas of the Tropical Rainforest, the wolves of the Northern Trail and the red pandas of the Temperate Forest. Among the countless creepy crawlers, rattling reptiles, flying feathered-friends and many majestic mammals throughout the zoo, the most popular exhibit was in the African Savanna, home to animals such as lions, monkeys and zebras. The crowd favorite, however, were the giraffes.

This past June, the Woodland Park Zoo announced the birth of a baby girl giraffe and she spent this past weekend bonding with her father, whom she just met days prior to the Academy’s visit. Several students were overwhelmed with excitement upon seeing the yet-to-be-named three-week old giraffe.

“It’s really good to see the kids in a different environment,” states Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy Instructor, Stella Moreno. “They see that [the teachers] are excited and that we love the animals, so they get excited too. The zoo trip encourages them to want to learn about the animals and they really enjoy it. I think it’s a great interaction and a lot of fun, its memorable and we will never forget it.”

Team Washington almost pulls off incredible comeback in opening game


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The 19U Team Washington men’s basketball team competing at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) features Robert Miles, Bryce Juneau, and Darion Joseph in the starting lineup. That’s three Tulalip tribal members who have been playing basketball since they were able to dribble a basketball. They were perfect for the team as they are all too familiar with the up-tempo, high intensity flow of rez ball. Their natural chemistry that comes from playing with one another since club teams in their Elementary school days is an added benefit as well.

Joining the three Tulalip boys on the team are four highly talented ballers from the Native tournament circuit. The complete roster is as follows:

Team Washington 19U Men’s basketball

  • #2 Isiah Strom (Yakama)
  • #3 Bryce Juneau (Tulalip)
  • #10 Robert Miles (Tulalip)
  • #15 Xavier Littlehead (Northern Cheyenne)
  • #20 Mike Leslie (Muckleshoot)
  • #21 Tre Williams (Nez Pierce)
  • #34 Darion Joseph (Tulalip)

On Monday, July 17 Team Washington squared off with Team Wisconsin in the opening game of pool play. Wisconsin featured several players who took Gold at the previous edition of NAIG in 2014, so the game was expected to be highly competitive with Washington having their own expectation of making it to the medal round. The game was played at Humber College in Toronto, Canada.

Washington opened up the game playing 2-3 zone defense, while Wisconsin employed man-to-man defense. Wisconsin came out firing from 3-point territory against the zone and quickly took a 7-0 lead. However, Washington eventually settled in and forced several Wisconsin turnovers that led to transition buckets. The good guys ended the 1st quarter on an impressive 14-3 run, including 4 points each by Robert and Darion, to take a 14-10 game lead.

In the 2nd and 3rd quarters, the gold medal experience of Wisconsin showed. They continued to execute against the zone defense by hitting long-range shots and making running floaters in the lane. During the same time frame, Washington struggled to keep up with its own offense. Washington trailed 31-54 with 1:10 remaining in the 3rd quarter, the 23 point deficit was the largest of the game.

Down by 20+ points with one quarter to go usually leaves the trailing team defeated and without fight. But this wouldn’t be the case for a team with Robert, Bryce, and Darion. They’ve come back from large margins before and knowing it could be done they’d try to do it again.

Coming out with a sense of urgency in the 4th quarter, the three Tulalip boys led the charge with a frantic offense pace – all go, no hesitation. They combined to score 20 points while playing aggressive, lockdown defense in an amazing display of resiliency and teamwork. The no quit attitude had Wisconsin on their heels, as Washington cut the once 23 point deficit to only 6 points, 66-72 with just under two-minutes remaining.

Washington’s comeback fell just short though. There just wasn’t enough time left as Wisconsin held the ball as much as they could to eat up the game clock. Washington lost 69-73, and left the gym thinking they gave the W away. Following the game Bryce, Robert and Darion all shared the same sentiment: how well they played as a team down the stretch was how they’d play going forward and they were determined to still make the medal round.

“I think we’re still going to do real well at these Games. They needed those first few quarters together versus quality competition to figure how to play as a team,” reflected Coach Harold Joseph after the opening game loss. “In that second half they got comfortable and everything started to click both offensively and defensively. That momentum will carry over to our remaining games of pool play for sure. These boys still expect to rally and make the gold medal round.”

Over 5,000 Indigenous athletes compete in NAIG 2017

Let the Games begin!

NAIG opened with a surprise musical appearance from Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, flanked by traditional hoop dancers putting on a mesmerizing cultural performance.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On the spectacular evening of Sunday, July 16 an estimated 5,250 Indigenous athletes, coaches and support staff proudly marched into the Aviva Center, located just outside of Canada’s largest city Toronto, for the opening ceremony of the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) 2017.

The over 5,000 athletes represent 26 regions across North America, consisting of 13 provinces and territories in Canada and 13 regions in the United States. Since 1990, Indigenous competitors between the ages of 13 and 19-years-old have taken part in the showcase that celebrates their athleticism and heritage. This year’s Indigenous Games marks the 9th edition of the multi-sport, multi-disciplinary event dedicated to Indigenous youth from the United States and Canada. The Games offer 14 sport competitions in addition to a vibrant cultural program.

For the first time in over 25 years NAIG returned to eastern Canada, notably allowing the province of Ontario to host its first ever Indigenous Games. For many of the young tribal competitors who reside on reservations in the United States, their athletic expertise allowed them their first ever entrance into Canada, to sightsee the City of Toronto, and, most importantly, to experience and connect with Indigenous cultures from around the continent.

Mississauga of the New Credit First Nation elder Gary Sioux lit the ceremonial smudge and offered a blessing, while his granddaughter fanned the flames of competition for NAIG 2017.

During the opening ceremony of NAIG 2017, which was delayed approximately 90-minutes due to a thunderstorm, the capacity crowd of over 9,000 was rightfully energized by a surprise musical performance from Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, flanked by traditional hoop dancers putting on a mesmerizing cultural performance.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to be here. I represent the Shoshone and Hopi Nation,” said Taboo before performing his musical medley. “I am very proud to be Native American representing here with you all in Toronto. We represent the future. Natives, Indigenous, First Nations, and Aboriginals all coming together as one people, one nation, one tribe to make dreams come true.”

Spanning the week of July 17-22, more than 5,000 athletes from across the continent will compete in 14 sporting categories on the traditional lands and homelands of the Huron-Wendat Nation, Metis Nation of Ontario, Mississauga of the New Credit First Nation, Mississauga of Scugog Island First Nation, and Six Nations of the Grand River.

Government and Indigenous leadership from various regions took to stage to deliver rallying messages of encouragement, strength, and unity through sport.

“On behalf of the Six Nations, we are the Haudenosaunee and we welcome you. We are so excited and proud to be one of the community partners hosting these Games,” exclaimed Chief Ava Hill, representing the Six Nations of the Grand River. “To the athletes, these are your Games! It is so emotional to me as a leader to witness all you young people here today because each and every one of you is a dream come true. You are role models for the younger ones who are watching you. You are ambassadors for your families and for your communities. You are all winners! You are all winners just by being here and being a participant in the North American Indigenous Games.”

Following a rocking performance by A Tribe Called Red, fireworks filled the night sky at the Aviva Center to signal the beginning of the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games.

Sport can be a launching pad for many great things yet to come for youth. Through participation in NAIG 2017, youth are given many opportunities to travel, make new Indigenous friends, and form life-long connections. As athletes participating in NAIG 2017, Indigenous youth learn many character building skills, such as team building, courage, determination, and goal-setting in a familiar setting located at the intersection of culture and sport. These are all skills that will help greatly as the youth move on to the next chapters in their lives.

Representing the Pacific Northwest region of the United States is Team Washington and its 19U men’s basketball team which includes three Tulalip tribal members: Robert Miles, Darion Joseph, and Bryce Juneau. They are joined by Michael Leslie (Muckleshoot), who played basketball for Tulalip Heritage during his sophomore year, Tre Williams (Nez Pierce), Xavier Littlehead (Northern Cheyenne), and Isiah Strom (Yakama). They are coached by Tulalip tribal member Harold Joseph, who participated in the first four editions of NAIG as a competitor and has coached in every NAIG since.

“Having three Tulalip tribal members on the team is special because they get to share this experience with the younger youth back home,” says Coach Harold. “All three of them are positive role models in our community. They each played high school sports; Robert at Heritage, Bryce at Marysville-Pilchuck and Darion at Archbishop Murphy, so the younger kids see that and it pushes them in the right way. I want to thank the Tulalip Tribe for supporting us and giving us the opportunity to represent all our people back home in our quest for a gold medal.”

Super Seine: Tulalip Celebrates Culture at Spee-Bi-Dah

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Once a year during the summertime, Tulalip tribal members celebrate the Annual Spee-Bi-Dah beach potlatch. The gathering allows tribal members the opportunity to socialize with friends and family while enjoying foods that are caught and prepared traditionally such as salmon, shrimp, crab and clams. Tribal members utilize seine nets to capture the seafood and a traditional clambake follows.

“That’s how our ancestors gathered when they fished; they held a potlatch and shared the food,” explains Tulalip tribal member, Mona Ordonia. “Our ancestors actually used to harvest nettles and make nets out of the nettle stems, way back in the day.  I harvested nettle myself and made some rope out of it, which was actually a special experience because now I understand how strong the ropes were. They are a lot stronger than some of the rope today, and that’s what our ancestors used before the modern nets.”

The skies were clear, providing beautiful weather for the July 8 beach event as many young tribal members seized the opportunity to splash about the water. Spee-Bi-Dah continues to unite multiple generations while honoring Tulalip’s culture and traditional way of life.

“I look forward to Spee-Bi-Dah every year because it’s such a great gathering,” Mona expresses. “And to also experience [seining]. That’s like bringing history to today’s experience, a way of not forgetting that’s how we did it back in the day. To be able to come together and share that experience, especially with the children, so that they can see that’s how we always did it. And to help; I like helping shuck the crab for everybody and I also like watching Tony [Hatch] cook the clams and shrimp on the pit, that’s so awesome to me.”

Tulalip Events Manager Robert Watson said the event wouldn’t be possible without the Tulalip Charitable Fund. “We’re so grateful that every year the Tulalip Charity fund donates money for us to put on the Spee-Bi-Dah event.”

Get Your Walk On

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The Tulalip Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education, or SNAP-Ed for short, is making strong efforts to promote healthy lifestyle choices in the Tulalip community.  SNAP-Ed teaches about the importance of good nutrition and exercise, alternating between live cooking demonstrations and guided workout regimens each week for Wellness Wednesdays at the Tulalip Administration Building.

Wellness Wednesday is popular amongst Tribal employees as the program has many participants who attend on a regular basis. However, SNAP-Ed is looking to expand their services to Tulalip community members who may not work for the Tribe as well as for those who aren’t able to make it to the Administration Building on Wednesdays. In an effort to reach more community members, SNAP-Ed recently created the Tulalip Tribes Walking Club and held the first community walk on July 11.

“We are implementing the Waking Club to start at a low impact level to get tribal members and community members to be more fit, get outside and be more involved in physical activities,” explains SNAP-Ed Assistant, Traci Fox. “We want to start a community within the community, for physical fitness, so that people feel like they have support and have other people they can talk to about their journey through physical fitness.”

The Walking Club will host one to two sessions per week and the locations will vary between the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic and Tulalip Administration Building as well as other areas throughout the community. Walking Club members are awarded with incentives for their efforts and also have the chance to win prizes at the end of each fifteen to thirty minute walking sessions.

“We’re trying to reach a larger demographic and make sure that all tribal people and everyone in the tribal community can be involved in physical activity and can learn to eat better to have a healthy lifestyle,” Traci states.

For further details about joining the Tulalip Walking Club please contact the SNAP-Ed program at (360) 716-4899.

New Exhibit at the Lightcatcher Shares the History and Art of the Northwest Coast Tribes

Coast Salish woman. Photo by Edward S. Curtis, Univ. of Washington Libraries Special Collections No. 289. Courtesy of Whatcom Museum.

Press Release:Whatcom Museum

A newly redesigned gallery in the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building shares the art, history, and culture of the Northwest Coast people, blending both historical and contemporary perspectives. The exhibit, People of the Sea and Cedar: A Journey through the Tribal Cultures and History of the Northwest Coast, opens Saturday, July 15, noon-5pm in the second floor gallery of the Lightcatcher.

Featuring artifacts from the Museum’s collection, such as Coast Salish artwork and carvings, woven blankets, hand-made tools, clothing, baskets, and cedar hats, the exhibit will show some of the traditional crafts created by the Northwest Coast people. Visitors will have opportunities to learn about the traditions, languages, and stories of these tribes.

“The Whatcom Museum hasn’t had a permanent presence of Coast Salish culture and history, past and present,” said Patricia Leach, Executive Director of the Whatcom Museum. “Now that our state legislature has mandated the teaching of native cultures in our schools, the timing on the creation of this new gallery space couldn’t be better. The Museum is excited to be enhancing the education of our local school children with the ‘People of the Sea and Cedar’ school program, which will actually take place in the new gallery.”

The Whatcom Museum has been offering its popular “People of the Sea and Cedar” program to Bellingham and Whatcom County students for more than 20 years. The new exhibit enhances the school program, which is being redesigned by the Museum education staff and will be in place this fall.

Photo by Kiser Photo Co., Whatcom Museum #1946.24.27

With input provided by tribal representatives, researchers, and educators, the Museum presents an experiential exhibit. People of the Sea and Cedar provides hands-on learning experiences, a Lummi and Nooksack language interactive, and videos showcasing Lummi and Nooksack weavers and carvers. Themes of cultural knowledge, art and symbolism, lifestyles, and community will present the Northwest Coast tribes as vibrant, living cultures who honor their past while building cultural and economic futures for their people.

People of the Sea and Cedar: A Journey through the Tribal Cultures and History of the Northwest Coast will be a permanent exhibit, which will be continually developed with rotating art and artifacts in the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora Street. Through its Smithsonian Affiliation, the Museum plans to borrow artifacts from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in future years.

Members are invited to a members-only preview on Fri., July 14, 5-7pm in the Lightcatcher. The public opening on Sat., July 15, noon-5pm will include storytelling by Nooksack storyteller Tamara Cooper-Woodrich from 1-1:30pm in the Lightcatcher.

About the Whatcom Museum. The Whatcom Museum provides innovative and interactive exhibitions, educational programs, tours, and activities about art, nature, and Northwest history for all ages. Its multi-building campus is located in the heart of Bellingham’s downtown arts district. The Whatcom Museum is a non-profit organization operated jointly by the City of Bellingham and the Whatcom Museum Foundation. Our collection contains more than 200,000 artifacts and art works of regional importance, including a vast photographic archive. The Whatcom Museum is accredited nationally by the American Association of Museums and is a Smithsonian Institution affiliate. For more information about exhibitions, programs, and admission visit

Local Apothecary Focuses on Traditional Healing

By Kim Kalliber, Tulalip News



 “We were created out of the earth. Well, we’re part of the earth, and that’s what we’ve got to go back to, the earth, to get something to keep this body a-ticking. Just like the tree, of course, and the herbs here, they’ve got sap in em, and we’ve got blood.”

–Tommie Bass (Appalachian Folk Herbalist)

With the current upsurge of gardening, homesteading and eating traditional and homegrown foods, visiting places like Moddejonge’s Herbals and Other Magical Things, with their extensive knowledge for treating ailments the natural way, is a must-do experience. The aromatic blend of spices, oils, and incense, surrounded by the many jars containing teas and powders along one wall, give the place an overall feel that sets you at ease upon entry.

Located on Hewitt Avenue in downtown Everett, owner Lynn Moddejonge and her knowledgeable staff are there to greet you and offer information, recommendations, remedies and even samples of the day’s tea blend.

“We’ve got over 350 herbs here that are mostly medicinal. We also have magical and cooking herbs, though all the herbs kind of travel between all three genres,” said Lynn. “We’ve got a lot of medicine that is local, like yarrow and St. John’s wort.”

While having heard of the popular St. John’s wort, many folks may not be as familiar with yarrow. Found in the wild throughout the northern hemisphere, yarrow is a member of the sunflower family. Many people use yarrow in teas and tinctures to shorten the duration of colds and flus, as well as relieving cramps, and rashes. Yarrow and mint tea can help ease allergy symptoms.

“I am a folk herbalist. I am not a doctor, I do not diagnose,” explained Lynn. Herbalism is the study of botany and uses plants and foods for healing and for building and maintaining good health.

“We’re a compounding apothecary. All of our herbs are organic or wild-crafted,” said Lynn. “If someone comes in and says, this is the trouble I’m having, we will put something together for you on an individual basis.” She went on to explain that if people keep coming in with the same problem or symptoms, she then mixes larger batches of the medicine to have on hand.

Lynn Moddejonge, owner of Moddejonge’s Herbals and Other Magical Things

Other highlights of Moddejonge’s are not only the evening workshops they offer, but also the socializing and collaboration between the staff and patrons. It’s a place to swap recipes and discuss tea blends, infusions and tinctures with other folks. “After coming in a couple times, a lot of our customers feel part ownership. And they are very willing to share and hold conversations about their outcomes.”

You can even bring your own ingredients in to be made into a tea or tincture or purchase only the necessary items to use at home. All bulk items are sold by the ounce and shoppers are encouraged bring their own bottles in, as Moddejonge’s is working towards a zero environmental footprint.

I inquired about bringing my own bee honey into the shop to get something made up and Lynn encouraged me to do so, noting the health benefits of honey. “It is a very good way to take medicine. If you infuse honey with something like elderberry, an immune builder, it builds on the immune building properties of the honey. And I can help you with that.”

Among the large selection of in-house crafted essential oils, soaps and other bath and body products, you can even find calming mists and flea medications for your pets, along with mosquito repellants and other summertime essentials.

Lynn makes all the ritual items in the shop herself, as she explains, “That way I know the intent is what it’s supposed to be, as opposed to buying items online. And the herbs we have for ritual include cedar, white sage and sweet grass.”

If you are looking to conduct a house cleansing, she says, “Right off the top, everybody should smudge when they move in because of the previous owner’s energy, and that kind of moves it all out. People smudge differently so we can talk about that and if they’ve never done it before I sit down and say, this is how I do it. We share; there is a lot of sharing here.”

Many folks turn to psychics for an analysis of overall health or lifestyle related questions or situations. Lynn can also help with finding a medium, to aid with grieving, relationship connections, healing and communicating with angels.

“This is an old area and there are a lot of spirits here. If you’ve got spirits visiting you, we can help with that. We offer energy work and readings here and we have contacts with mediums if you are in need. We offer health screenings. There’s a lot of medicine here; spiritual medicine as well as physical medicine.”

While cold and allergy relief are big sellers at Moddejonges, Lynn points out, “Our top product is information. And that’s for free.”

Moddejonge’s Herbals is located at 1905 Hewitt Ave, Everett, WA 98201. You can also follow them on Facebook at