Bump, Set, Spike… it’s Senior Night

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium was packed full of family and friends as the Tulalip Heritage Lady Hawks (5-6) hosted the Orcas Christian Saints (5-3) on Tuesday, October 17. This game doubled as Senior Night, so the evening’s contest meant a little something extra for the eight seniors on the team.

Prior to the volleyball match, there was a ceremony to honor the Lady Hawks seniors. Kimberly Smoley, Jessica Damita, Nissie Jones, Rosealynne Williams, Keryn Parks, Shaunte Moses, Eddie Reeves, and Deandra Grant were all given a bouquet of roses from Principal Shelly Lacy before greeting their families on the court for a photograph opportunity.

In the match’s 1st game, both teams were playing with lots of energy and communicating effectively. Heritage jumped out to an early 8-4 lead, but the Saints fought back and tied it up at 18-18. The Lady Hawks trailed for the first time at 20-22, but after a timeout they regrouped and earned victory in a hard fought 28-26 opening game.

The 2nd game started out competitive, tied 7-7, before the Lady Hawks found their groove and took a 17-10 lead. Heritage did a great job all match of setting up senior captains, Keryn and Deandra, for point-earning spikes, and won the game 25-16.

The 3rd game ended up being the most lopsided as the Lady Hawks dominated at the net with several key blocks and spikes that took the fight out of the Saints. Seniors on the team got plenty of reps down the stretch and celebrated with a 25-9 win, taking the match W 3 games to 0.

With the win the Lady Hawks record moved to (6-6) and assures them a spot in the upcoming District Tournament that starts on Wednesday, October 25. Time and location to be determined after Heritage wraps up their final two regular season games.

Students and their families enjoy QCT Coffee Morning

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Research shows that children are more likely to succeed academically and are less likely to engage in disruptive behavior if their families are involved in their education. Additional studies have found that parental involvement is more important to student success, at every grade level, than family income or education. However, many parents say that they feel unwelcome or uncomfortable in their children’s schools.

To bridge this gap, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary (QCT) has brought back ‘Coffee Morning’, an activity to promote parental involvement and gets families more familiar with school staff. The first Coffee Morning of the school year took place on October 11.

“I feel the significance of a monthly Coffee Morning is to provide access to the school, myself, and our staff in an informal setting,” said Principal Doug Shook. “Just as we want Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary to feel welcoming to all of our students every day, we want families to feel welcome when they come in the building. It is important for families to have an opportunity to meet me and talk to me about their child’s experience here at QCT. This way we can stay responsive to the needs of the family and community.”

Parents, grandparents, and guardians alike were invited to join their students in the school library where coffee, juice, and a variety of donuts could be enjoyed. Over 80 participants showed up and mingled during the 8:45a.m. – 9:15a.m. window. Several parents could be found joining their student in reading a good book, while others took the opportunity to introduce themselves to the new Principal and his staff.

“As the new principal at QCT, I’m excited that we had 80 family members and students participate!” added Principal Doug. “We’re hoping that word of mouth gets out so we have even more family members at our next Coffee Morning. I had the opportunity to talk with many families and to introduce myself and answer all of their questions. My hope is that we can provide additional ways for our QCT families to visit and show off the great work of our students. Our staff does a great job and works hard in making QCT a warm and inviting space so that our students can do their best every day.”

October marks the second annual Unity and Wellness Month sponsored by the Tulalip Tribes and in partnership with the Marysville School District as they focus on a different area of student wellness each week in October. Week 2 was healthy relationships week. Morning Coffee showcased the goals of healthy relationships with students, parents, and teachers coming together in unity.

If you missed out this time (or even if you didn’t) QCT staff would love to see more of their students and families at the next month’s Coffee Morning on November 1 from 8:45a.m. -9:15a.m.

Cultural Gatherings brings Lushootseed language to ELA families

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy, the Lushootseed Language Department and the Rediscovery Program teamed up to bring Family Cultural Gatherings to the young students of the Academy and their families. The gatherings are held at the Academy every Tuesday and alternate between a one-hour class at 12:00 p.m. and a two-hour class at 5:00 p.m. weekly. Families can learn traditional Tulalip Lushootseed Language by means of storytelling, song and interactive lessons.

“We really want to build that connection between our language and culture back to the families so that they can really have a feeling of what the kids are learning in school,” explains Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy Director, Sheryl Fryberg. “We want to share that value; I think that the Lushootseed Department does a really great job of sharing that value. We want our families to have an opportunity to learn Lushootseed too, with our kids.”

The revitalized traditional Coast Salish language is currently offered at all levels by the Lushootseed Language Department. The language is being spoken to and utilized by students at the Early Learning Academy,

Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary and Tulalip Heritage High School. The Language Department also offers Lushootseed 101, a college course through Northwest Indian College, to the employees of the Tulalip Tribes. This past summer, the Annual Lushootseed Language Camp was a huge success as over one hundred and sixty youth participated in the week-long language camp.

The Academy wanted to bring this experience to the parents and siblings of their students, and the Cultural Gatherings presents the perfect opportunity for students to practice the language outside of the classroom. During the Cultural Gatherings, parents and students learn words, phrases and songs alongside one another.  A meal is prepared by the Academy for the participants and each gathering begins with a joint prayer, in Lushootseed, to bless the food. The Language Department creates a fun learning experience for the families with book readings, flash cards, and songs as well as arts and crafts. Many students are familiar with the words and often assist their parents with pronunciation.

Lushootseed Language Teacher, Natasha Gobin, encourages families to attend the gatherings.

“It’s encouraged for each family to attend at least one of the classes we offer,” states Lushootseed Language Teacher, Natasha Gobin. “We’re trying to teach the families what the kids are learning in school because we know that when the kids go home, they’re trying to get their parents to learn [the language] with them. If they point out any of the animals and are saying the words in Lushootseed to their parents, quite often the parents are like ‘I have no idea what you’re saying’, so we’re trying encourage the families to engage in that learning and make it relevant in the home which in turn empowers the kids when they start using the language.”

The next gathering will be held on Tuesday, October 25 at 12:00 p.m. for more information please contact the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy at (360) 716-4250.

Marysville School District selects former Tulalip Tribes Board Member and Native American advocate to serve as Director of Equity, Diversity and Indian Education

Other positions also filled include Deputy Superintendent, Assistant Director of Human Resources, and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program Interim Manager
Source: Emile Wicks, Marysville School District, Communications and Community Relations Coordinator
Marysville, WA – The Marysville School District has selected Deborah Parker to serve as the District’s Director of Equity, Diversity and Indian Education. Parker comes to the Marysville School District after serving as a member and Vice Chair of the Tulalip Tribes’ Board of Directors. In addition, Parker has run her own company which provided consultation to tribal nations, local, state, national and foreign government agencies and colleges and universities in developing effective communication, strategic management and policy. Her work has taken her around the world to places such as the University of Guadalajara, the Peruvian jungles of South America, and countries across Asia. During her time as Director of the Residential School Healing for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation in British Columbia, the program received honors from the Canadian Parliament.
A Marysville School District graduate, Parker holds a bachelor’s degree in American Ethnic Studies and Sociology with a focus on racial disparities from the University of Washington. She has extensive knowledge of the K-12 educational system and its policies, as well as experience improving equity and diversity in large, complex organizations.
“We are honored to welcome Ms. Parker to our staff,” said Marysville Superintendent Dr. Becky Berg. “Her wealth of knowledge, experience, and passion for equity and social justice will help us better serve and build success for our students and the Marysville-Tulalip community.”
Parker’s many efforts and accomplishments include working to pass the Ethic Studies Requirement (ESR), advocating for the Violence Against Women Act (WAWA), mentoring minority students in math and science, as well as serving as the Education Committee Co-Chair for the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians (ATNI) and on the Board of Directors for the Smithsonian Institute Board of Trustees.
In addition to a selecting a new Director of Equity, Diversity and Indian Education, the Marysville School District has selected Tracy Souza to serve as the new Assistant Director of Human Resources. Souza replaces Jason Thompson who was recently appointed Deputy Superintendent. Thompson will work closely with Superintendent Berg on educational finance, learning and teaching, and student achievement goals.
Souza has worked in the Marysville School District since September 2000. For the past 15 years, she has served as program manager for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). Under her leadership, the program received a rating of five on the Early Achievers’ Quality Rating Improvement scale. This is highest rating available, and Marysville’s is the only ECEAP program in the region to receive it.
JoAnn Moffitt has been appointed to replace Souza as the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) Interim Manager at the Early Learning Center. Moffit brings much knowledge and experience to this position. Her work in the Marysville School District goes back to 1999 when she served as a family service provider for the early childhood education and program manager for ECEAP, then as a school counselor and intervention specialist for several years. Most recently, she served as a counselor at Shoultes Elementary School.
“The Marysville School District continues to move quality, effective staff members into positions that build further success for our students and capitalize on our individual and team strengths,” said Marysville School Board President, Pete Lundberg. We are pleased with the direction our district is moving, look forward to the programs these individuals will take to the next level, and the positive impact their efforts will have on student achievement.

The Curtain Closes on Tulalip Bay Restaurant, But Not Without a New Act

TulaBene Pastaria + Chophouse to Make Its Debut at Tulalip Resort Casino

Tulalip, Washington —- After many encores, the Tulalip Resort Casino culinary team realized that their beloved Tulalip Bay Restaurant is ready for a new act. Like a long running award-winning Broadway play, Tulalip Bay witnessed talented artistry, acclaimed culinary shows, and memorable waitstaff star performances during it’s 13-year run. As the culinary curtains for Tulalip Bay Restaurant comes to its final close on Saturday, October 28, 2017, a new and exciting production is being rehearsed by way of TulaBene Pastaria + Chophouse, which is slated to open in spring of 2018.

TulaBene Pastaria + Chop House will take diners on an unexpected culinary experience where ethereal steaks and curated Italian-inspired dishes come together from the hands and soul of Tulalip Resort Casino’s Chef Jeremy Taisey. A new bar will be added to the restaurant featuring a varied selection of handcrafted cocktails and an extensive wine list.

“TulaBene will be an inviting dining spot that will encourage guests to ‘come-as-you-are’ and to order family style meals, creating memorable dinners with friends and family. We plan on working closely with local farmers with an attention to create our own house-made products, and each guest will be the director of their experience,” Chef Taisey shares.

For more information about Tulalip Resort Casino’s extensive dining options, visit www.tulalipresort.com.

Tulalip Community Celebrates First Week of Unity Month



“What’s the day without a little night?

I’m just trying to shed a little light

It can be hard, it can be so hard

But you got to live right now

You got everything to give right now”


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention recently reported that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States with an estimated 44,193 deaths by suicide per year; for every suicide there are about twenty-five attempts. In the state of Washington, suicide is the eighth leading cause of death with 1,137 suicides each year. Suicide is the first leading cause of death among the youth in this state, ages ten through fourteen; and second leading cause of death for Washingtonians ages fifteen through thirty-four. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report showing the highest suicide rate in the country was amongst the young adults of the Native American community. For the age group of fifteen through thirty-four, Native America reported 1.5 times more deaths annually than the national average, with 19.5 deaths per 100,000 population; however, CDC noted that those statistics may be underreported by approximately thirty percent.

As suicide and suicide attempts are escalating in Native communities, tribes continue to search for a way to reach their young members. Suicide is a topic that many are not comfortable discussing. Whether it’s because of a lost loved one or even personal attempts and thoughts, the stigma around suicide often prevents people from having an open conversation about the risks, factors, and signs; let alone the pain, anger and grief that suicide causes.

Tulalip Youth Services is well-aware of the suicide crisis as the community has been personally affected over recent years. Youth Services often holds open-forums for the young adults of the community, creating a safe space where teens can open up to their peers to speak honestly about suicide. Last year, Youth Services hosted the first annual Tulalip-Marysville Unity Month, better known as #TMUnityMonth in the social media realm, to promote awareness about issues such as bullying, domestic violence, substance abuse and suicide within the two communities. Youth Services dedicates an entire week to each of these issues during the month of October and plans events and activities based on the topic to bring awareness, resources and education to the community.

The second annual Unity Month started with Life is Sacred week, focused on suicide prevention. Four, three-step suicide prevention trainings, taught by the Tulalip Crisis Response Team, were held for the community throughout the week. Training attendees were taught how to spot warning signs and how to respond when dealing with someone who is suicidal. The three-step suicide prevention class is taught nationally and upon successful completion, students are awarded a certificate by the QPR Institute. Both the institute and the trainings are named after the three-steps in the prevention: question, persuade and refer.

Crisis Response Team member, Yvonne Ito, explains the three steps stating, “Q is the question and the question is, are you planning on harming yourself, do you plan on killing yourself? People might not want to ask that question because they might not want hear the answer and are afraid of what the response will be. P – persuade someone to get help and R is refer them to the appropriate resource.”

Yvonne addressed the class during one of the trainings, asking “if someone told you they were going to harm themselves, where would you tell them to go?”

To which a youth, who wishes to be unnamed, answered, “I would refer them to the Community Health Department and get them in touch with some counselors. Obviously there’s the suicide hotline and get them support rather than telling them what they need to do and what they can’t do. Just letting them know that they have people who want them here and will listen to them. And also that they have me, that I’m always here to talk to and that I care.”

“Does anybody happen to know the suicide hotline number?” asked Yvonne. A group of young ladies answered, nearly in unison, “1-800-273-8255” before one of their peers added “you only know that because of the song.”

This year hip-hop artist Logic released a song titled 1-800-273-8255, the national suicide number. The song itself is told from three different perspectives; someone who is contemplating suicide, a friend offering words of encouragement and someone who is reflecting on a failed suicide attempt.

The unnamed student expressed that the song is extremely important in helping reach today’s youth stating, “I think that just the song’s title alone will save a lot of lives – I hope it does. It sheds a little light on a dark subject – you don’t have to listen to the song, or even be a fan of it, to save yours, a friend or anybody’s life, you just have to know the name.”

Frustrations were expressed, feelings were confessed and many tears were shed throughout the course of the four QPR trainings. Attendees were provided with plenty of resources and are now better equipped with the knowledge of how to prevent someone from committing suicide.

“The QPR trainings are important to our community, in particular, because we as Native Americans have higher rates of suicide in our community, with this training it can help us combat that,” expressed Youth Advocate, Deyamonta Diaz. “It’s not a cure-all but it does help for regular unlicensed folks, such as many of us community members, to help prevent and even talk with someone about suicide. The trainings also help bring awareness to some education around the topic of suicide in general.

“I think the youth responded well to the QPR’s in the fact that they were able to address any feelings that they had towards the notion of suicide; and [the trainings] also empowered other youth to feel like they now know preventative measures,” he continues. “The biggest takeaway that the community learned from the sessions are that suicide is preventable by anyone, not just mental health professionals; and that if anyone is in need of help – me, you, or anyone in the community can help them out. I think we are all aware that suicide has impacted our community recently but we can tackle this issue and help heal our people.”

The community showed up in large numbers to conclude Life is Sacred week with the Say Something Color Run/Walk. Color-runners, accompanied by a Tulalip Police Department and Tulalip Fire Department escort, traveled the distance from the old Boom City site to the Don Hatch Youth Center on the evening of Saturday October, 7. Youth Service team members excitedly waited to cover runners with multi-colored powder chalk at multiple check-points. Upon reaching the finish line, runners were treated to pizza and a live DJ as community members celebrated a successful first week of Unity Month.

Indigenous Peoples Day in the Pacific Northwest

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

In 2014, the Seattle City Council unanimously elected to replace the national holiday known as Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, a holiday which celebrates Native American culture. It is no secret, in fact the atrocities committed by Christopher Columbus are well-documented. Under the name of colonization, Columbus and his crew raped, murdered and enslaved thousands, if not millions, of the Indigenous People who inhabited his ‘new-found land’.

Even though his crimes are well-documented, the majority of America seems to conveniently forget about his actions, often romanticizing his voyage and ‘discovery’ as the birth of a nation. Although several cities recently followed Seattle by declaring the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day, many Americans refuse to acknowledge the Italian explorer’s dark history and are upset that people are electing to celebrate Indigenous culture instead. This year, a Native American statue in Texas was vandalized with red paint, the vandals left behind a cross with a message that simply read ‘Columbus Day’ next to the statue.

President Donald Trump recently stated, “The permanent arrival of Europeans to the Americas was a transformative event that undeniably and fundamentally changed the course of human history and set the stage for the development of our great nation. Therefore, on Columbus Day, we honor the skilled navigator and the man of faith, whose courageous feat brought together continents and has inspired countless others to pursue their dreams and convictions – even in the face of extreme doubt and tremendous adversity.”

Due to schools nationwide inadequately teaching the history of Christopher Columbus, he is perceived by many as a stand-up guy; it may be years before the entire nation collectively agrees otherwise. However, Indigenous Peoples Day promotes awareness and education about Columbus, while celebrating the Native American culture, heritage and traditions.

On October 9, the United Indians of All Tribes gathered at Westlake Center in downtown Seattle and marched to City Hall. Throughout the march traditional songs and dances were on display as tribal members from across the nation, many in full regalia, celebrated being Indigenous. Upon reaching City Hall, local Indigenous leaders shared words of excitement, gratitude and encouragement with fellow marchers.

Following  the march attendees were invited to a traditional salmon dinner at the Daybreak Star Cultural Center. Hundreds of local-based Natives attended the celebration at Daybreak, where special performances including songs, dances and poetry were shared. United Indians honored several community leaders with blankets designed by Eighth Generation by Louie Gong. In a Facebook post Hunkpapa Lakota member and local Native American Activist, Matt Remle, shared his feelings regarding this year’s Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration.

Matt Remle, (Lakota) Native American Liaison for Marysville School District, activist and human rights leader.

“I would like to express my deep gratitude to all those I had the opportunity to work with this year on our fourth annual Indigenous Peoples Day celebration. We jammed for a good twelve hours from the streets of Seattle to Daybreak Star and it was all beautiful. Much behind the scene work goes into organizing these gatherings and so many are responsible for pulling it off – all for the love of who we are. I seen non-stop smiles, pride, joy and many tears. To all the singers, dancers, cooks, organizers much love, appreciation and gratitude. We’ll keep putting forth that good transformative energy as we live our values, roles and responsibilities daily. We’ll grow stronger, united for our children and grandchildren. They are watching and waiting. Hecetu welo.”

Nikkita Oliver, poet, teacher, lawyer, and community activist who was a candidate for Mayor of the City of Seattle.

Exploring Healthy Boundaries With the Help of Horses

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News.  Photos courtesy of Monica Holmes

The horse was a major part of Native American history and still plays a vital role in enabling Native youth to connect to their heritage of being caretakers of Mother Earth and all her animals. A new form of spiritual healing can also be derived from individuals and their interaction with the majestic horse, called equine therapy.

Using horses in a therapeutic setting offers youth clear opportunities to learn about themselves and others in an effective way. This is why on October 6 the Girl’s Talking Circle took a trip to Cedar Groves Stables in Stanwood, WA for a fun-filled, therapeutic afternoon.

“Our trip to Cedar Groves Stables was for an ‘Exploring Healthy Boundaries’ workshop with the goal to enlighten the youth about their own inherent boundaries and the need to adjust those boundaries based on the people they encounter along their journey,” explained event coordinator and para-pro Monica Holmes. “We did many exercises individually and with one another that illustrated each person’s ability to tap into their own gut instinct to determine where they position themselves, how they behave around others, and how they may need to regulate their emotional output.”

Horse and human encounters provide opportunities for learning about relationships and further understanding about boundaries. Once the girls transitioned inside the stables and began interacting with the herd of horses, they found themselves using the personal boundary skills they just learned and adjusting to the horses’ needs.

“I learned horses sometimes feel trapped or unsafe, so they tell us to back off by moving their heads and trying to get away,” beamed 11-year-old tribal member, Tieriana McLean. “When we humans did boundary work we learned that we sometimes flinch or feel stressed or react and that means we were setting our own boundaries with others.”

Horses, much like people, are social creatures and require mutual trust and respect in order to engage in a productive relationship. If a horse is acting stubborn or defiant, then it can often be understood as a lack of engagement and thoughtfulness on the part of the person.

“I liked learning about how you need to calm yourself around the horses, so they’ll learn to trust you and won’t hurt you,” remarked 14-year-old Ariyah Guardipee (Salish Kootenai).

For the girls, making a connection with a horse required self-awareness in order to produce positive intentions, while also reading the emotional output of the horse. Once a balance has been reached, the girls were able to approach the horses and establish a bond. How much space to give a certain horse and when or if they could reciprocate attention or affection is a learned skill they showcased brilliantly.

“Rather than shying away from them or feeling overwhelmed by the horses’ size, the girls were zoned into reading the horses individually,” added Monica. “They adjusted their interactions accordingly, so the horse was on the receiving end of the time and attention it wanted and needed. Miraculously, each girl walked away with a deeper connection to the horses, each other and themselves.”

Volunteer chaperone and tribal member, Darkfeather Ancheta, jumped at the opportunity to attend the workshop with the Girls Talking Circle. She witnessed first-hand the girls learn personal boundary skills and then use them to develop bonds with the horses. “It was very powerful! The girls’ energy and moods changed instantly around the horses. To watch them react, learn, and respond the way they did was so amazing. This program can change lives for the better,” stated Darkfeather.

The connection established with these equine companions brought out the hidden inner strength and courage of each and every youth participant. Overcoming doubts and developing confidence are only a couple of supplemental results they also enjoyed from their time at the Stables.

Activities that teach skills ‘outside of the box’ are vital to programs like the Girls Talking Circle for developing healthy, well-rounded individuals and groups of youth in our community. These are experiences the youth and those adults who are privileged enough to work with them won’t soon forget.

Tulalip, From My Heart: WWU reading group studies the life of Harriette Shelton-Dover

Ray Fryberg, Patti Gobin and Chelsea Craig perform of one of Harriette Sheldon-Dover’s songs.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

If you look up the word resiliency in the dictionary there will be a picture of the Tulalip leader, Harriette Shelton-Dover. Or at least there should be, because she is the very definition of the word. Harriette was a boarding school survivor, cultural preserver and language revivalist. She was a highly respected leader as well as a daughter, mother, cousin, auntie and grandmother of the Tulalip people. Harriette restored the practice of the Salmon Ceremony, testified during the Boldt decision and was the first chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes – to name a few of her accomplishments. But perhaps one of Harriette’s biggest accomplishments was rebuilding pride in a tribal community during and after years of forced assimilation. She knew her language, rights and culture and stressed the importance of both practicing those traditions as well as passing them down to the next generation. Harriette passed on to the next life in 1991, yet her teachings continue to inspire generation after generation.

Despite her boarding school experience, Harriette knew the importance of an education and received her college degree from Everett Community College during the seventies, while in her seventies. While attending the college, Harriette met Darleen Fitzpatrick, a young Anthropology Professor who was teaching a course on Northwest Coast tribes.

“The beginning of one fall quarter, I was standing in front of the room getting ready to start class and I just happen to look over at the door and she just happened to walk in at that moment,” recalls Social Anthropologist Darleen Fitzpatrick. “With her cane thumping on the floor, she stopped halfway to me and said ‘I want to know what you’re saying about Indians’. Thumping with her cane, she thumped over to the front row and sat down exactly in front of me. Looking at her I thought well, if there’s anything wrong this is how I’m going to find out. I was twenty-eight years old and she was seventy. When she said, ‘I want to know what you’re saying about Indians’, that began a relationship that eventually became a friendship. As we were becoming acquainted, I finally said to her, ‘I can help you with the history you want to do about Tulalip. We have tape recorders; we can do it on Friday afternoons before I go home’. So that’s what we did for quite a while.”

Darleen spent every Friday, for two years, recording Harriette as she shared the history of Tulalip as well as some of her personal experiences. In total, there were nearly two hundred cassette tapes, filled with audio recordings on both sides. After years of transcribing, editing and placing Harriette’s accounts in chronological order, Harriette’s memoirs were published by the University of Washington Press in 2013, twenty-two years after her passing, in the book titled Tulalip, From My Heart: An Autobiographical Account of a Reservation Community.

Western Reads is a reading group designed for the new students of Western Washington University. The book club promotes intellectual engagement through a variety of events and activities. Every year, Western Reads collectively decides which book they will be reading; for this year’s selection, the group chose Harriette’s From My Heart.

“We feel that in the past Western has not done a good job of acknowledging the Indigenous culture. This is an opportunity for everyone to reflect on this history of this area and how this history is represented,” states Dawn Dietrich, Director of Western Reads.

Western Reads hosted a forum on October 4, at the Fairhaven Auditorium. During the forum, the reading group witnessed guest speakers Darleen Fitzpatrick, Ray Fryberg and Patti Gobin recount the life and times of Harriette Shelton-Dover. Ray spoke of the boarding school atrocities and shared a little bit of Harriette’s experience at the school.

“She talks about being raised by her grandmother,” says Ray. “The teachings that she got from her grandmother; being introduced out into the woods to the four directions, how to sit properly in the longhouse because people are going to look at you to see how you were taught, because your teachings reflect on your elders. Then she went to the boarding school. She said that during her experience at the boarding school, two boys from Lummi ran away and she knew that they went out and caught them so she and [the other students] had to go back to their dormitories. They all looked out the window, down at the school, to see what they were going to do to the two boys that ran away – they whipped them so hard that it took them forty-five minutes to crawl from the school to the dormitory which was only a quarter of a block.

“They said no speaking Indian – no Indian,” Ray continues “[Harriett] and two girls from Lummi were in the bathroom, they were talking Indian and the matron came in and said ‘didn’t I tell you no talking Indian?’ Harriette said they had a whip – she described it: two inches wide, an inch thick and it had brass tacks – outlawed in the prisons yet they were allowed to be used in the school. She said, ‘the matron whipped me all the way across the bathroom hitting me underneath my ear, across my neck. But there were two things I wouldn’t let that white lady do, I wouldn’t let her knock me down and I wouldn’t let her see me cry. I caught myself in the corner and I grabbed a hold of the sink and I would not let her knock me down.’”

Ray expressed that Harriette knew of the long-term damage Native America faced due to the boarding schools. “She also said, ‘everybody I went to the school with turned out to be alcoholics. I can’t blame them. Out here we don’t have no doctors, no psychologist, no psychiatrist like they do in town.’ We were talking about that back in the mid-eighties before boarding school experiences and generational trauma were even buzzwords. For me, when I read that about the boys, I cried. When I heard about her being whipped, I become really angry that anybody would ever treat a grandmother like that.”

Patti Gobin is Harriette Shelton-Dover’s grandniece. Patti explained that the boarding school experience left many Native Americans across the nation lost, including her grandmother, Celum Young.

“My grandma, she was so broken, split between two worlds: being ‘civilized’ and uncivilized,” explains Patti. “I say that in a good way because that describes my grandma. Uncivilized being something very bad and civilized meaning something you needed to attain. My grandma was first generation in the boarding school, her first language was Lushootseed, her first culture was Coast Salish; and in the blink of an eye she was no longer Coast Salish, she was no longer Indian. She was going to be Catholic, her name was now Cecilia and she was going to speak the English language.

“But this isn’t about my grandma,” she continues. “It’s leading up to how Harriette Shelton-Dover came into my life. She came and knocked on my mom and dad’s door when I was ten years old – that was fifty-four years ago. My dad answered the door and asked ‘what do you want Harriette?’ and she responded, ‘I would like to speak with Celum’ – she never called her Cecilia, it was always Celum. She stepped into the house and my grandma was very quiet, very shy. [Harriett] said ‘I want to ask if I can take your granddaughter, because she has ears to hear and I see something in her.’

“My grandma wasn’t happy because culturally you don’t take someone’s granddaughter out of the house physically and have her stay at your house,” says Patti. “My grandma finally asked ‘why do you want my granddaughter?’ and Harriette said, “because she has something and I think I can share our culture, our history as Tulalip people, as Snohomish people with her.’ My grandma said ‘you can have her, but only on the weekends.’ So, I lived with Harriette Shelton-Dover Friday through Sunday from the time I was ten until I was eighteen. I didn’t think I was learning anything. You may not think you’re absorbing your family’s qualities, traits, their values but you are. Even when you’re fighting, even at a young age when you may not want to be like your mom and dad or your grandma and grandpa – but you end up there. I’m sixty-four and I’m there. I am Harriette, I am Celum, I am many of those elders who took their time and invested in me.”

Patti explained the many lessons she learned from Harriette, or as she called her granny, “the first thing she did was try to teach me how to act Si’ab, high class, how to conduct myself in public. I was shy like my grandma and granny would say ‘look at me, look me in the eye. I want you to tell me who you are and where you come from.’

Patti explained the importance of introductions within the tribal community. She demonstrated how she first introduced herself to Harriette, looking down at the ground in a soft-spoken voice.

“She said ‘lift your head up. Look at me and let’s try this again.’ I looked at her and she said ‘never be ashamed of who you are and where you come from. You are an Indian girl and you must be proud of that. When you walk into a room, you hold your head up high, even though you’re shaking and quaking on the inside. You look people right in the face and say I’m Patti Gobin. My mother is Dolores Gobin and my father is Bernie Gobin. My grandmother is Celum Young, her mother was Lucy McClean-Young, her father was George Young.’”

The entire crowd was moved by Patti’s story, many book club members were in tears while listening to Ray and Patti reflect on the impact Harriette left for the future generations of Tulalip.

“What granny taught me was the beginning of a lifelong lesson – that I am Coast Salish,” states Patti. “I have thirteen grandchildren who are Coast Salish and they know that. As soon they came into this world they knew that they’re Coast Salish. They sing our songs and know that they’re members of the Tulalip Tribes and they’re not ashamed. I don’t speak my language, but my grandkids speak the language. My granny preserved our language and our songs in order to pass them on. I went to the University of Washington and ordered From My Heart before it even came out; I don’t even know how I heard about it but I paid full price for the book. It took me a long time, I read two pages at time and cried the whole time because it’s everything she’s ever said to me. I read everything in her voice – she’s always with me. I want to thank Darleen for this marvelous documentation because this will help each generation heal more and more over time.”

The forum ended with a performance of one of Harriette’s songs by Ray and Patti accompanied by Patti’s daughter, Chelsea Craig.

“I think the event was amazing,” says Dawn. “It was so moving not only to read Harriette Shelton-Dover’s account of the Tulalip culture and the region that we all share here, but then to actually hear members of the Tulalip tribe come with very personal connections to Harriette; who knew her, who knew her voice, who knew her songs; and to share that intergenerational wound that people have from everything that happened 150 years ago. There weren’t a lot of dry eyes in the room, particularly when Patti and Ray were speaking and when they were performing the song.

“I feel that people can have misunderstandings of other groups of people when they don’t share a culture,” she continues. “But when you’re face to face and someone has the courage to speak so directly to an audience and to share things so close to their hearts – it moves people. Not intellectually necessarily, but it moves their hearts and that is really the source of education. I felt it was very powerful and I couldn’t have asked for more. I think for students to have the ability to hear this culture and history first hand and hear about how the people today are living with that is invaluable. If it can open hearts and minds and open peoples understanding to an accurate historical account of what actually happened, then the program this year will have been completely worth everything we’ve done to organize it.”